Canadian defence minister hails Indian diaspora success
Canadian defence minister Anita Anand (Photo by LARS HAGBERG/AFP via Getty Images)
INDIAN-ORIGIN Canadian defence minister Anita Anand recently shared her journey, reflecting the contribution and success of Indo-Canadians during the celebration of Pravasi Bharatiya Divas (Non Resident Indian Day).
In a video, the Liberal Party leader recalled how her parents, who hailed from different cultural backgrounds, migrated to Canada and settled in the country.
“Like so many Canadians, my parents were newcomers to Canada. They immigrated to Canada in the 1960s,” the 55-year-old Anand, who is also a parliamentarian representing Oakville, Ontario, said. She took over as the defence minister last October.
Her parents were both physicians.
While her father’s family is from Chennai in the southern Indian state of Tamil Nadu, her mother was born in a small town in the northern state of Punjab.
Anand was first elected as a parliamentarian from Oakville in 2019.
She had previously served as Minister of Public Services and Procurement. She has worked as a scholar, lawyer, and researcher.
Sharing the video on Twitter on Thursday (20), the consulate general of India in Toronto thanked Anand “for sharing with us your incredible journey reflecting contribution & success of #IndoCanadians during celebration of #pravasibharatiyadivas”.
“I am proud to be of both Tamil and Punjabi ancestry…I have grown up loving both of these cultures within the Indian diaspora,” Anand said in the video.
“So when I take that little story of my family and look across our country and (see) many many Canadians have a similar story to the one that I just told you, I feel a deep connection to our community,” she said.
On the occasion, Anand recalled how her parents met in Ireland where her mother was at a medical school and her father a doctor.
“They got married in England and they lived in India and Nigeria before deciding to embark on a new adventure together and immigrate to North America. They had the idea that they may end up in the US, but the first stop that my father made on a reconnaissance trip was in Nova Scotia and he decided to stay there,” she said.
Later, her mother and sisters, who were born in Nigeria, joined him and then she and her younger sister were born in Nova Scotia.
According to the website of the consulate general of India in Vancouver, Canada hosts one of the largest Indian diasporas in the world, numbering 1.6 million (PIOs and NRIs), which account for more than three per cent of its total population.
The diaspora, whose main concentration are in the Greater Toronto area, the Greater Vancouver area, Montreal (Quebec), Calgary (Alberta), Ottawa (Ontario) and Winnipeg (Manitoba) has done commendably well in every sector in Canada, it said.
Pravasi Bharatiya Divas (Non-Resident Indian Day) is observed on January 9 every year by India to mark the contribution of the overseas Indian community towards the development of India.
The day commemorates the return of Mahatma Gandhi from South Africa to Mumbai on January 9, 1915.