News East West
MISSISSAUGA: Why did Premier Kathleen Wynne give promotion to Brampton MPP Harinder Malhi as the minister of the status of women, not other Sikh MPPs Amrit Mangat and Vic Dhillon?
Not that Harinder is smarter than the two others.
But with just months to go for provincial elections, why did Kathleen Wynne opt for Malhi?
Reason number one is that the Premier needed a Sikh cabinet face just before the elections. Not having a Sikh cabinet face from the vote-rich community in election time would have been bad politics.
Reason number two is the rise of Jagmeet Singh in the NDP. It has been a very bad news for the Liberals as for as the Sikh vote across Canada is concerned because Jagmeet will make a big dent in the Liberals’ Sikh votebank. Sikh votes are even much more crucial for the Liberals in Ontario’s 905 region. Malhi’s elevation is the Premier’s bid to safeguard that vote bank.
Reason number three is Harinder Malhi’s genocide resolution in the Ontario provincial parliament which also went in her favour when it comes to grabbing Sikh votes for the Liberals.
Reason number four is Harinder’s father Gurbax Singh Malhi who was the first turbaned Sikh MP in Canada and served as an MP from 1993 to 2011.
Though a lacklustre character, he is a man with his ears always to the ground and he is very well connected in the local Sikh community. Gurbax Malhi still goes to people’s homes to attend ceremonies.
“Of late, Gurbax Malhi was less involved in local politics and issues, but his daughter’s elevation to the cabinet will fire him up and he will now work for the Liberals whole-heartedly. He can bring big votes for the Liberals because he is still well connected inthe local Sikh community,’’ says a Mississauga-based Sikh leader.
Harinder Takhar was out of the reckoning. But why did the Premier ignore Amrit Mangat and Vic Dhillon?
“Both Vic Dhillon and Amrit Mangat are not greatly liked by many in the Sikh community because of their stand on various issues. Kathleen Wynne gets her feedback about the Sikh community and she might have got the feedback that going with Harinder Malhi was her best bet in election time,’’ says the Sikh leader.
Whatever it is or how short her tenure, it is a big boost for Harinder Malhi’s political career.