Saturday, February 24, 2024

First South Asian speaker in Canada elected in B.C. legislature

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Canada’s first-ever South Asian Speaker of a parliamentary assembly was elected in the B.C. legislature on Monday.

Raj Chouhan, the NDP MLA for Burnaby-Edmonds, was acclaimed to the position by Lieutenant Governor Janet Austin in a ceremony preceding the first official session of the 42nd Legislative Assembly of British Columbia.

In keeping with tradition, the new Speaker was “dragged” by two members to his new post in the seat at the head of the Legislature.

To maintain COVID-19 safety, no physical contact was made, eliciting laughter from the assembly as the trio mimed resistance and encouragement.

Chouhan was born in the Indian province of Punjab and immigrated to Canada in 1973. He was first elected as an MLA in 2005.

He succeeds outgoing Speaker Darryl Plecas, who served in the role from 2017 to 2020 as an independent.

“I am truly grateful to have been entrusted with this role by all members of the legislative assembly,” Chouhan said in a statement.

“As a proud member of the Indo-Canadian community, I am tremendously proud of this historic occasion and honoured to continue my public service in this new role.”

Tim Ford
Tim Ford
Digital staff writer with Victoria Buzz

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