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Explainer: What is the relation of Sikhs with Canada, why is Justin Trudeau impressed by them?

A large number of Indian students are living in Canada (file photo).

New Delhi :

Relations between India and Canada are deteriorating. The dispute between the two countries has started after Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s allegations of alleged involvement of Indian agent in the murder of Khalistani separatist leader Hardeep Singh Nijjar in June this year. The question is, what is the relationship of Sikhs with Canada that despite India’s repeated requests, the government there is not taking any steps against the separatist activities being carried out against India from there?

Sikh community constitutes 2.1 percent of Canada’s population

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According to the 2021 census, the population of Canada is 37 million. Of these, about 16 lakh people are of Indian origin, which is 3.7 percent of the total population of Canada. Among them, about eight lakh 30 thousand are Hindus. The number of people of the Sikh community is around seven lakh 70 thousand, which is 2.1 percent of the population of Canada. The population of Sikhs in Canada has doubled in the last 20 years. Most of the Sikhs have reached Canada from Punjab. His purpose of going there ranged from studies to career and job.

After India, Canada has the largest number of Sikhs.

Sikhs are the fastest growing community in Canada. It is the fourth largest religious community in Canada after Christians, Muslims and Hindus. After India, most Sikhs settle in Canada. This community has a dense population in Ontario, British Columbia and Alberta. Punjabi is the third most spoken language in Canada after English and French.

People of the Sikh community make a major contribution in the fields of construction, truck transportation and banking. He is also very active in the health and service sector. They run everything from restaurants to petrol pumps.

2 lakh 36 thousand Sikh citizens of Canada

Out of seven lakh 70 thousand Sikhs living in Canada, 2 lakh 36 thousand Sikhs are citizens of Canada. Four lakh 15 thousand Sikhs have the status of Permanent Resident (PR). Apart from these, one lakh 19 thousand Sikhs are living as non-permanent residents. There are about 3.25 lakh students of Indian origin in Canada. Among these also there is a good number of Sikh students.

According to the data received related to Canada, in 1980 only 35 thousand Sikhs had the status of permanent resident, but now 4 lakh 15 thousand Sikhs are permanent residents. Of these, 1 lakh 41 thousand Sikhs achieved permanent resident status between 2011 and 2021.

Sikhs have considerable influence in Canadian politics

Before the Corona Pandemic, Canada gave permanent resident status to about three lakh people every year. On average four percent of these are Sikhs. Although if compared to the total population of Canada, there are not very many Sikhs, but in terms of influence, they have a significant influence in Canada. That’s why when Justin Trudeau became Prime Minister for the first time after defeating the Conservative Party in 2015, he said that most Sikhs have been made ministers in his government. Then Trudeau made four Sikhs ministers in his government with absolute majority.

Networking of Sikhs through Gurudwaras in Canada

Why are Sikhs so politically important in Canada despite being only two percent? In response to this question, experts say that the Sikh community remains strongly united. He has heavy networking through Gurudwaras across Canada including Toronto, Vancouver and Calgary. Sikhs of Canada raise huge amount of money in the form of funds. They give a large part of it to the politicians there which is used to contest their elections.

18 out of 338 MPs in Canada are Sikhs

There are 18 Sikh MPs out of 338 in Canada. According to reports, Sikhs have direct dominance over eight parliamentary seats. Apart from this, their votes on 15 more parliamentary seats matter for victory or defeat. This is also a big reason why no political party in Canada wants to anger the Sikhs.

On the other hand, every effort is made to politically mislead the Sikhs by inciting anti-India sentiments. Khalistani separatist leader Jagmeet Singh, one of the 18 MPs of Punjab origin in Canada, has been adding fuel to the fire and Trudeau is dancing to his tune.

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