23 MPs of South-Asian origin have been elected in the House of Commons, Parliament of Canada in the Parliamentary elections held on 19th October, 20 out of these speak Punjabi. With such a large number of Punjabi speaking MPs, Punjabi has become the most spoken language in the House of Commons after English and French. 14 of these Punjabi speaking MPs are males and 6 are females. 12 MPs have been elected from Ontario, four from British Columbia, three from Alberta and one from Quebec.
Navdeep Bains, an elected MP of Liberal Party, has stated that although the elected 20 MPs speak Punjabi, they have the responsibility to represent their diverse constituencies regardless of their party association or ethnicity, which shows their commitment towards diversity.
“The voice of the Indo-Canadian community will now be very well represented in the Parliament. In the overall aspect of it, the South Asian community won,” MP Deepak Obhrai of Conservative Party said.
Mr. Dhaliwal, Canada’s first Indian Origin Cabinet Minister, opined that the election of 23 MPs of South-Asian origin shows the broadness of Canadian political system allowing new immigrants to get elected and contribute to the Canadian politics determining the future policy. He added that Canadian Parliament reflects the diversity of Canada.
As per the data available from Statistics Canada's 2011 National Household Survey, it was found that 430,705 Canadians identified Punjabi as their mother tongue i.e. Punjabi speakers are about 1.3 percent of Canada’s total population, while 20 Punjabi speaking lawmakers represent almost six percent of the House of Commons.
Punjabi is an Indo-Aryan language, derived from the 'Shauraseni' language, which was one of the major languages of medieval India. Punjabi is written in a standardized script, Gurmukhi. The word 'Punjabi' is derived from the Persian word which means 'Five Waters', refering to the five major tributaries of the Indus River - Sutlej, Beas, Ravi, Chenab and Jhelum.