Appointment of First Turbaned Sikh to Federal Cabinet a Milestone

Ottawa (May 18, 2011):  The World Sikh Organization of Canada (WSO) offers its congratulations to all of today’s appointees to the federal cabinet.  Particular congratulations are due to Tim Uppal for becoming the first turbaned Canadian Sikh to be appointed minister in a federal cabinet. 

On May 18, 2011, Prime Minister Stephen Harper unveiled his new Cabinet which included the appointment of Edmonton-Sherwood MP Tim Uppal as Minister of State for Democratic Reform and Bramalae Gore Malton MP Bal Gosal as Minister of State for Sport.  These appointments are a matter of particular pride for Canadian Sikhs as they mark the first time two Sikhs have been appointed ministers in the federal cabinet and the first time for a turbaned Sikh. 

Prime Minister Harper’s cabinet appointments on Wednesday also marked the first time in Canadian history that two members of Canada’s aboriginal communities have been given cabinet positions, namely Health Minister Leona Aglukkaq from Nunavut, and Intergovernmental Affairs Minister Peter Penashue from Newfoundland and Labrador.

WSO President Prem Singh Vinning said, “Today’s appointments are another milestone for the Sikh community here in Canada.  After well over a century of history in Canada and after the election of several Sikh MPs since 1993, this is the first time two Sikh Canadians have been appointed ministers in the federal cabinet.  We’re pleased to see Prime Minister Harper’s cabinet reflect the diversity we see in multicultural Canada today.”

WSO Senior Policy Advisor Gian Singh Sandhu said, “seeing a turbaned Sikh in the federal cabinet is a sign of how far the Canadian Sikh community has come.  The early Sikh pioneers could hardly have imagined that one day a turbaned Sikh like them would serve as minister in a federal cabinet.   This is a testament to Canada’s dedication to the principles of inclusion and multiculturalism and a milestone not just for Canadian Sikhs but for Canada.”

The World Sikh Organization of Canada (WSO) is a non-profit organization with a mandate to promote and protect the interests of the Sikh Diaspora, as well as to promote and advocate for the protection of human rights for all individuals, irrespective of race, religion, gender, ethnicity, and social and economic status.

For more information, please contact:


Gian Singh Sandhu
Senior Policy Advisor
[email protected]

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