BC Premier #32 – Canada’s First Indo-Canadian Premier

So BC has a new premier! The BC So-Called Liberals chose Christy Clark, former Deputy Premier and former radio show host on WGYY1, to replace lame duck Gordo as the leader of their party and, thus, our new premier. And it reminded me that I never did finish my series on BC Premiers that I started eleventy thousand years ago. Hence today’s posting on the 32nd premier of BC, Ujjal Dosanjh.

Ujjal Dosanjh Name Ujjal Dev Singh Dosanjh
Born: September 9, 1947 in Jalandhar, India
Died: hasn’t
Party: NDP
Held Office: February 24, 2000 – June 5, 2001
  • 1964: left India to get his education in the UK
  • 1968: immigrated to Canada, living in BC with his aunt
  • 1976: earned his law degree at UBC
  • 1979: opened his own law practice (family & personal injury law)
  • other stuff he did: “taught English as a Second Language at Vancouver Community College; worked as an assistant editor of a local Punjabi newspaper.” Involved with “community organizations included founding the Farm Workers’ Legal Information Service (later Canadian Farm Workers’ Union), serving on the board of directors for BC Civil Liberties Associationand the Vancouver Multicultural Society, and the Labour Advocacy Research Association, as well as volunteer work with MOSAIC Immigrant Services Centre, and the South Vancouver Neighbourhood House”2.
  • 1979: ran in the provincial election for the NDP party, but lost to the So-Cred candidate
  • 1983: ibid
  • 1985: attacked outside his office by an assailant opposed to his speaking out against “against violence by Sikh extremists who advocated Khalistan independence from India”3; Dosanjh is a “prominent moderate Sikh.”
  • 1991: won the Vancouver-Kensington riding as an NDP MLA
  • 1993: “chaired the Select Standing Committee on Parliamentary Reform, Ethical Conduct, Standing Orders and Private Bills”
  • 1995: become Minister of Government Services and Minister Responsible for Sports in April, then also the Minister Responsible for Multiculturalism and Human Rights in July and then in August his portfolio was changed to Minister Responsible for Multiculturalism, Human Rights and Immigration and he was appointed as the Attorney General. I’m guessing he was pretty tired in 1995.
  • 1996: won the Vancouver-Kensington riding as an NDP MLA again
  • 1999: his “constituency office was broken into and a Molotov cocktail left burning on a table.
  • Feb 24, 2000: Won the party leadership and thus became the Premier. This made him Canada’s first Indo-Canadian Premier. He was also the first Canadian Premier to march in a gay pride parade.
  • other stuff he did: “gave priority to issues of health care, education, and balanced budgets.” and “increased spending was mostly directed to renovations of hospital, public schools and higher education institutions, as well as building cancer treatment centers, lowering post-secondary tuition fees, and creating significantly more new spaces in the province’s apprenticeship program and post-secondary institutions… “the provincial government adopted the Definition of Spouse Amendment Act which extended equal rights to same-sex couples.the Legislative Assemblyadopted the Tobacco Damages and Health Care Recovery Act which permitted lawsuits against tobacco organizations to re-coup associated health care expenses, the Sex Offender Registry Act, and the Protection of Public Participation Act which prevented lawsuits against citizens who participated in public processes.”
  • 2001: Despite the fact that Dosanjh polled as much more popular than his competitor, Gordon Campbell of the So-Called BC Liberals, in the run up to the election, the NDP was very unpopular after Glen Clark and the NDP were trounced in the 2001 election. Dosanjh lost his own seat in Vancouver-Kensington and the So-Called Liberals won all but two of the 79 seats in the provincial legislature
  • 2003: “awarded the Pravasi Bharatiya Samman (Expatriate Indian Honour) from Indian Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee in New Delhi. The award recognizes individual excellence in various fields for persons of Indian origin across the world.
  • 2004: recruited to the federal Liberal party by then-Prime Minister Paul Martin as part of a campaign to bring “All-Star” BC candidates to the party. Dosanjh won his seat as the MP for Vancouver South in the June 2004 election. He’s done a bunch of stuff in federal politics, but I’m not going to summarize them here since this blog posting is meant to be about him as BC Premier4.

In summary, he was the first Ind0-Canadian Premier, which is pretty cool. He also did a lot of stuff. Writing about him makes me tired, that’s how much he did.

Image credits: Accessed from Wikipedia. Creative Commons License. w00t!

References:
Wikipedia, the reference of champions

Footnotes:

  1. White Guy (Or Girl, in this case) Yelling At You Radio []
  2. all from Wikipedia ‘cuz I’m just that lazy []
  3. again from The Wikipedia []
  4. and also I’m lazy. If you are interested, you can check out his Wikipedia page. That’s all I do anyway []