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Jagrup Brar Becomes First South Asian Minister of State for Trade in BC

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Jagrup Brar, a Punjab-born New Democratic Party (NDP) MLA has been appointed as Minister of State for Trade for British Columbia (BC), Canada. He is among four South Asian origin people who were inducted as Ministers to the BC Cabinet. Brar was first elected as an MLA in Surrey in 2004, and served until 2013.

Born in Bathinda, India, Jagrup Brar moved to Canada in to study Public Administration and received a Master’s degree. He then moved to Surrey, BC in 1994 and worked for both the public and non-profit sectors for a decade. In October of 2004, he was first elected as a member of British Columbia’s 37th Legislative Assembly. He went on to win the 2017 provincial elections by defeating Peter Fassbender after losing to him in 2013. Since then, he has been serving as a member of the New Democratic Party of British Columbia.

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On Wednesday, Brar was appointed as the Minister of State for Trade, making him the first Punjab-origin South Asian man to take on the post. He was joined by Harry Bains taking charge as the Minister of Labour, Ravi Kahlon as Minister of Housing, and Government House Leader, Rachna Singh as Minister of Education and Child Care, and Niki Sharma as the Attorney General.

Brar has been active in the Surrey community for several years. Brar worked with a variety of local organizations providing services to seniors, the homeless, young people, and new Canadians.

The new Minister of State for Trade was a member of the Indian National Basketball team back when he was residing in India. He also got a master’s degree in Philosophy before moving to Canada. In 2012, Brar took on the Raise the Rates MLA Welfare Challenge and lived on $610 for one month in a small room in Vancouver’s notorious Downtown Eastside. The media exposure surrounding the event helped in raising public awareness of welfare rates in BC.

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