Sarabjit Singh Marwah: First Sikh Appointed to Canadian Senate


Canada is one of the world’s most crime free country and it also has one of the most diverse population. About 1.4 % of Canada’s population is Sikh and that is approximately 468,670 people thereby making it one of the most followed religions in Canada. Sikh’s have a way of establishing themselves where ever they go and make sure to make their mark. One such Sikh is Sarabjit Singh Marwah who has become the first Sikh to hold a position in Canadian government.

Sarabjit Singh Marwah was born in Kolkata in the year 1952. Sarabjit finished his schooling from St. Xavier’s School and is also an alumnus of the Delhi School of Economics and Delhi’s St Stephen’s College. From the University of California in Los Angeles, United States he has earned a MBA degree. Sarabjit then put his degree to use by working at Scotiabank (The Bank of Nova Scotia), Canada and he then became the financial analyst in the company in Toronto. He soon rose through the ranks and in 1998, he became the COO (Chief Financial Officer) of the bank after this in 2005 he was made the COO and senior executive vice president of the bank. He was re-assigned as the Scotiabank’s COO and vice chairman and he held these posts till his retirement in the year 2014.

All through with his rise he made sure to take the Sikh community with him, as he became one of founding members of Sikh Foundation of Canada, a foundation that promotes Sikh art and culture throughout the scattered population of Canada. Sarabjit has also served on the boards of a number of famous Canadian institutions like the C.D, the Royal Ontario Museum, the Hospital for Sick Children, the Toronto International Film Festival, the United Way Campaign, and Howie Institute etc.

Canada’s Prime Minister Justin Trudeau this year appointed six people from Ontario to the Senate and one of these six candidates was Sarabjit Singh Marwah. So on November 2nd, 2016 the Kolkata born Sarabjit became first Sikh appointed to Canadian senate. Other than Sarabjit there are two other Sikhs gracing the Canadian Parliament and those are science minister Navdeep Bains and defence minister Harjeet Sajjan who have also earned their current positions in the Canadian government with their hard work. The Senate (upper house) may have Sarabjit as the only Indian origin member but the Canadian House of Commons (lower house) hold up to over 20 MPs of Indian origin.

The appointing of such diverse candidates in the Canadian government shows how much the Sikhs and other various cultures or religions have made their mark on the World. This diversity has come to a stage where Punjabi has become the Parliament of Canada’s third most spoken language.

While appointing Sarabjit the Canadian PM Justin Trudeau praised Sarabjit for his hard work in showcasing the rich diversity of South Asian and Sikh art and culture. So we hope that he continues to do this from his position in the Senate thereby spreading a part of the Indian culture all over the world.

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