Will Quebec elect its first ever migrant of Indian descent to its Assembly?

There are two candidates of Indian origin in the run for the October 3 poll. They are Jaspal Singh Ahluwalia representing Bloc Montreal, and Deepak Awasti of Quebec Liberals.

Quebec, a French speaking territory, has never before elected any immigrant of Indian descent on its national assembly. After Moe Sihota made a beginning for the Immigrants by getting elected to British Columbia Provincial Parliament in 1986.

Since then, immigrants of Indian origin have been elected to Provincial Parliaments of Ontario, Alberta, Manitoba, and Saskatchewan.

Quebec is an exception as its provincial assembly is called national assembly. Though Anju Dhillon has been representing the immigrants of Indian descent in the House of Commons from this French-speaking province, no one could represent the community in the Quebec National Assembly till now.

There are two candidates of Indian origin in the run for the October 3 poll. They are Jaspal Singh Ahluwalia representing Bloc Montreal, and Deepak Awasti of Quebec Liberals.

Jaspal Singh Ahluwalia is contesting from Vaudreuil, and Deepak Awasti is a candidate from Laurier-Dorion.

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Bloc Montreal is a new political outfit contesting, just 13 candidates on its list, less than half of the candidates needed for the 27 ridings in Montreal.

Its leader Balarama Holness  says his party shares several commonalities with some of the other parties, and he can see Bloc Montréal working with Québec Solidaire or the Liberals to invoke change.

Last year Balarama Holness unsuccessfully contested the Montreal Mayoral election. He now wants  to bring up  many of the issues  he raised during his municipal election to the provincial election to give Montreal status it deserves.

As a  part of his plan as leader of the newly-minted Bloc Montréal party to give Montrealers a voice at the National Assembly, he says  “Vote for a party that’s actually going to fight for the interests of Montrealers and give more autonomy to our metropolis.”

His fledgling provincial party — founded just over three months ago — cropped up in response to what Holness said is the Quebec government’s long standing neglect for the province’s largest city. He said the Liberal Party (PLQ), which ruled Quebec until the last National assembly elections,  has also taken anglophone and minority votes for granted for too long.

Holness is now a candidate in the riding of Notre-Dame-de-Grâce — a Liberal stronghold. He hopes   to gain the support of Montrealers who voted for him in last fall’s municipal election. He  also hopes to   capitalize on issues like language and minority rights to try and snag votes from struggling Liberals in other predominantly English ridings.

He has also supported those who have been opposing laws to bolster protections of the French language as well as Bill 21, a law that prohibits civil servants from wearing religious symbols.

 

 

Prabhjot Singh

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