UPDATE: Canadian Election 2011 Analysis – Sikhs: Kingmakers in Our Own Mind

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UPDATED: Picture added on bottom.
UPDATED 5/11 – Maple Leaf Sikhs responds! View here!

My fellow Sikh-Canadians, its the morning after the big party. How does it feel? You must be a little hung over? Why wouldnt you be? Youve been drunk on power over the last 5 weeks. Youve had every leader in the country wining and dining you in style. Telling you how great you are, how important you are to him and how he cant live without you. Theyve trotted you out to every event like a prized possession, your dastaar (turban) became the ultimate fashion accessory of the election. No political stage was complete without a token Sardar in his requisite blue, red or orange turban.

You took the leaders everywhere with you. They met your family and friends – heck you even introduced them to your Father Guru and foolishly praised their false kingdoms in the presence of the King of Kings. You invited them to your Khalsas birthday celebrations and if they were able to say the Gurus Fateh, your heart melted because you believed they really loved you. It felt great to be in the spotlight.

After so many years of being insulted and neglected, being seen as an outsider and the Other, you were finally part of the cool kids crowd. You felt like a somebody – recognized on the national stage as a king-maker. Now its the morning after and what do you have to show for it?

The numbers are clear. Not a single Amritdhari left in Parliament. In fact youre down to only one Sardar. 1984 petition supporters Sukh Dhaliwal and Andrew Kania both gone. Gurbax Malhi gone too. ALL defeated largely by Sikhs supporting their opponents. But, boy did it feel good to get rid of Ujjal and Ruby. Except at the end of the day theyre Sikhs too. Sure youve added a few Sikh faces but it remains a question of where their loyalties really lie and if they will fight for our rights.

Congratulations Sikh-Canadians. Youve cut off your nose to spite your face.

You spent hundreds of thousands of dollars, if not millions, fighting each other. You dug up dirt on each other and leaked scandals to the media. You even got your smear campaigns on to CBCs The National.

Its a sad day for the Gurus Panth in Canada, when you see Amritdhari uncles with long flowing beards and kirpans stationed as scrutineers at a polling station to ensure the Amritdhari candidates LOSES because hes from the wrong gurdwara.

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Sure there were some bright spots but they were few. Jagmeet Singhs campaign and near win was inspirational in its mobilzation of youth and its largely positive message. Hes got a great career ahead of him BUT for now he has to livewith the knowledge that because of him the longest serving Sikh dastaar-wearing politician in Canadian history is no longer in office. I doubt Bal Gosal will be taking over Mr. Malhis tradition of Vaisakhi Akhand Paths in the Canadian Parliament. Nor will Mr. Gosal likely be making statements on 1984 in the House of Commons like Mr. Malhi has gone on record to do multiple times.

Its widely acknowledged that the NDP are great supporters of the Sikh community and its key concerns. Jack Layton has passionately defended the kakkars and spoken loudly against human rights abuses by the Indian state in Punjab. However, he can kick and scream all he wants over the next four years, but a majority Conservative government will do what it pleases.

Speaking of a majority Conservative government, Im not optimistic for Sikh-Canadian issues. Kiss your 1984 genocide petition goodbye along with anything substantial on the Komagata Maru apology. And the next time the Sikh identity is attacked by irrational Quebecers or anyone else for that matter, dont expect anything more than apathetic half-hearted responses from our government. This has been the Conservative response over the past 5 years and theresnothing seen said or done by Tim Uppal, Nina Grewal or Parm Gill that gives me confidence that this will change. But hey if you suck up to Jason Kenney your cousin might get a visa.

The icing on the cake is that we now have an unstoppable Prime Minister who while working as the Director of Policy contributed to a Blue Book for the Reform Party of Canada in which the party explicitly stated that it “supports the preservation of the the distinctive heritage and tradition of the RCMP by retaining the uniformity of the dress code. Changes should not be made for religious or ethnic reasons.” To top it off they “opposed to any immigration based on race or creed or designed to radically or suddenly alter the ethnic makeup of Canada”. Sure the Reform Party is no more and every individuals views change over time, but the individuals that supported the ban on Sikhs from legions are still in the party fold. It is unfortunate that most Sikhs in Canada probably werent here and dont remember this not-so-distant past. However, those of us who were here and endured their racist policies, will never forget.

So my fellow Sikh-Canadians, we have flexed an unprecedented level of power and influence in federal Canadian politics this campaign and we are the poorer for it. We are an even more divided community with fewer elected representatives in office. Sikh issues will move even further to the periphery of the Canadian agenda. We had a great time during the election party but now that its back to the business of running the country and, were on the outside looking in. And we did it to ourselves.


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79 Responses to “UPDATE: Canadian Election 2011 Analysis – Sikhs: Kingmakers in Our Own Mind”

  1. Blighty Singh says:

    "Being Canadian means having the opportunity to participate in global issues"
    You what son ? You talk to the average Joe on the streets of London, Paris or Madrid and mention the word 'Canada'. He'll instantly say 'eskimo'…'polar bear'….'ice'. You'll struggle to find anyone thats even aware there are any large towns, let alone cities, in Canada (with the exception of Montreal). Canada is irrellevent on the world stage. It participates on 'global issues' by being given a seat to sit and observe in the background. It doesn't have a voice big enough to be heard.
    Canada has potential though. Probably the most potential in the world. But it needs to find an identity first. An identity of its own. It can't be easy having such a powerfull giant as a neighbour but by being a second rate clone of it does nothing for it on the world stage. Just look at Australia. The same British stock colonised both nations at the same time. Brought with them the same traditions of law, culture etc. Both countries have changed in the last generation through immigration. Australians haven't had a big neighbour to feel insecure about and have carved out a nice confident independent identity for themselves. They are now genuine big players on the world stage. They lead from the front. Canada, as usual, sits quietly in the background while the big boys ignore it. Like it for being 'nice'….but ignore it. Get yourself an identity. Let that identity give you a big voice. Then make yourself heard.

  2. Sikh Canadian says:

    @Meena: The little bit of respect I had for you vanished as soon as I read your post. Hmm let's see:

    You said: "If you really believe all this S#*T then you are the one that deserves people's sympathy! I truly feel sorry for you because you are an Ad man's dream. I suspect you buy all the products advertised on TV and in magazine".

    So instead of countering my points with a half decent argument based on facts, you feel the need to start using profanity to show how much you disagree with what I have to say. You have a brain for a reason; next time, I suggest that you use it. By the way, no, I don't buy everything I see on TV or in Magazines.

    You said: "It is because of naive people like you that the Canadian government has managed to get away with bombing and maiming innocent civilians including children and women in places like Afghanistan; because of people like you who believe in all this hype that native children sexually abused in state schools have yet to receive justice".

    Naive people like me? I know more about this countries laws, it's government, and it's history than you ever will. What do you know anyways? I'm sure that other than the Komagata Maru incident, you have very little knowledge about Canadian history. I was also the first person opposed to the war in Iraq, and although I would of much rather had our Soldiers stay here in Canada where they were safe. Canada is in Afghanistan because the democratically elected government of that nation requested NATO and The UN to help oust the Taliban, which had been terrorizing his country for decades. Canada, being a member of those two organizations, agreed to do so. I don't know what the US's intentions were from the beginning, nor do I really care, but seeing as you seem so intent on bashing Canadians in Afghanistan, what I can tell you is that Canada entered Afghanistan as part of the peacekeeping mission also carried out by a number of other Allied nations. It turned more violent than most would of hoped, but what do you expect? Do you think that the Taliban were just going to hand over their control of the country without a fight? No, they weren't. Whether or not the mission was successful is up to you to decide. As far as civilian deaths in Afghanistan, I'm sure you're smart enough to realize that accidents do happen. I did a 5 minute google search on this, and I was only able to find one legitamite report on Canadian Soldiers killing Afghan Civilians, and I'm sure that most people who read that report would agree that it wasn't on purpose, and it was justifiable. And as for the Native Children argument, please, you think Canada is the only country in the world that's made mistakes? We give Native children far far more benefits than any other group of kids when it comes to things like education nowadays. You seem to me to be one of those people who lives in Western countries, but at the same time, despises everything about them. Nobody's forcing you to stay, so if you can find a country more to your liking, then by all means, leave.

    You said "We need politicians who will stand up for people's human rights for all not just Canadian interests…that includes the victims of 1984 some of who have sought refuge in this country; that includes the aboriginals and other marginalized groups".

    I agree with you on this one, for the most part. But as far as standing up for "Canadian" interests, I think what you fail to realize is that everyone living in this country is a Canadian, and thus their interests ARE Canadian interests. You seem to be the one marginalizing people here, suggesting as you do that Canadian interests are different from the interests of aboriginals living in this country, and are different from the interests of the 1984 refugees living in this country. They may be different from the interests of the politicians on Parliament Hill, but the interests of Canada are the interests of every Canadian living here. I'm also hoping that the 1984 refugees have taken it upon themselves to try and integrate into our society and become proud citizens of this country. If their sole reason for being here is to pressure the Canadian government into recognizing 1984 as an act of Genocide, well then their interests probably aren't Canadian interests, seeing as how they have no intention of ever becoming genuine Canadians.

  3. Sikh Canadian says:

    You said: "And yes, skin colour is paramount in Canada. If you doubt that then I invite you to Vancouver where downtown and in prime real estate co-op housing is given to white European refugees and new immigrants by the government and local groups not to black Africans or Tamils or other groups escaping genocide".

    I live in Vancouver. I went to school in Vancouver. Never did I encounter a problem because my skin color was different. Canadians are some of the, if not the most accepting and welcoming people in the world. Sure, there are a couple of idiots in every group, but I suggest you go down to the southern part of The United States Of America to see what racism actually looks like. Heck, India may even be the most racist country on the planet. Skin whitening creams may even be the most popular products in Punjab, and there are people who refuse to marry other people because their skin is too dark, and although I recognize that it does happen here, if you feel that it is more prevalent in Canada, then you're the one that I feel sorry for 😉

    You said "Wake up buddy and smell the coffee and lets drop the nationalist crap"!

    I woke up and smelled the coffee quite some time ago, and I still love my country, and everything it stands for. You, on the other hand, don't seem to like this country very much, and I ask that you leave, because this is Canada, we're a free country, and nobody is forcing you to stay. Leave Canada to the people that love it with all their hearts. And trust me, this isn't "nationalist crap"; I'm just proud to be a Canadian, and judging by your response to my last post, I'm positive that everything I had said in it is true. Bye bye 😉

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