By Balwant Sanghera
VANCOUVER: Election of 20 Punjabis to Canada’s House of Commons is a great news for Punjabis around the globe.And the elevation of four of them to very prominent cabinet positions is a great honour not only to these four individuals but also a great tribute to a multicultural Canada of 2015. Harjit Singh Sajjan, Navdeep Singh Bains, Amarjit Singh Sohi and Bardish Kaur Chaggar deserve our hearty congratulations and good wishes.
The appointment of Harjit Singh Sajjan as Miniser of National Defence has been hailed in Canada and around the world as very deserving . Sajjan’s stellar record as a police officer with Vancouver Police Department and as a military officer has earned him kudos from every quarter.
Thus, it was only fitting to welcome and recognize this very talented and decorated officer to the India Cultural Centre of Canada’s Gurdwara Nanak Niwas on Highway to Heaven (Road 5) in Richmond this week. Harjit was accompanied by his loving wife Dr. Kuljit Kaur Sahjjan, their two children – Jeevat and Arjun, Harjit’s father Kundan Singh Sajjan and a number of well-wishers. At the Gurdwara, Harjit was greeted by the management committee led by chairman Asa Singh Johal and president Sohan Singh Basi.
Members of the Executive-Vice President Balbir Singh Jawanda, General Secretary Mohan Singh Sandhu and Assistant Secretary Balwant Singh Sanghera –welcomed Harjit and shared highlights from his distinguished career. They congratulated him and wished him well on his new assignment. India Cultural Centre of Canada’s chairman Asa Singh Johal presented Harjit with a plaque and Saropa.
In his brief remarks, Harjit thanked the Gurdwara management and congregation for the honour bestowed upon him and assured the audience that he will do his utmost to serve Canada to the best of his ability. He also thanked the community for its on-going support and encouragement.
There is no doubt that our new Minister of national Defence is facing a lot of challenges. These include the withdrawal of six Canadian jets and our military personnel from the war zone in Iraq and Syria. The anti ISIL coalition is not thrilled about this prospect. However, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has made this as one of the major election platform.
Furthermore, dealing with some of the internal problems in the armed forces as well as settling 25,000 Syrian refugees by December 31 are other major challenges facing the government in general and Minister Sajjan in particular. The good thing is that Harjit Singh Sajjan has the fortitude, skills and dedication to address these issues head on.
A look at his bio indicates that Harjit is a very creative individual. His invention of a face mask for the beard while serving in Afghanistan is still very popular with the Afghanistani forces. Prior to that, while serving as a police officer in Vancouver, he won accolades for dealing with the challenge of gangs and youth violence plaguing the city at that time. His superiors gave glowing reports about Harjit’s skills, determination and dedication. Thus ,there is little doubt that the man charged with the defence of the nation will make us all proud.