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Punjabi Becomes Third Language in Canada's House of Commons

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Punjabi Becomes Third Language in Canada's House of Commons

Photo for representational purposes only.

Toronto:  Punjabi has now become the third most common language, after English and French, in the House of Commons of Canada after 20 Punjabi-speaking candidates were elected to the Parliament in October.

In total, 23 lawmakers of Indian-origin were elected after October 19 general elections. Three of the 23 lawmakers do not speak Punjabi, Hill Times online reported today.

Prime Minister-designate Justin Trudeau, who won from Papineau, Quebec constituency, will unveil his Cabinet later this week. Some of Punjabi-speaking lawmakers are expected to be included in the Cabinet.

Meanwhile, Navdeep Bains of Liberal Party said that the elected 20 Punjabi-speaking lawmakers represent all constituents regardless of their party affiliation or ethnic origin.

"It speaks to our commitment to diversity and allowing individual to play an important role in our political institutions," Mr Bains said.

"The main issue to understand is that we have a very clear mandate to execute our platform and we also have a responsibility to represent our constituents, which are very diverse," he added.

"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," Deepak Obhrai of Conservative Party was quoted as saying.

According to Statistics Canada's 2011 National Household Survey, 430,705 Canadians identified Punjabi as their mother tongue, making it the third most common language after English and French, the report in the daily said.

The 430,705 native Punjabi speakers make up about 1.3 per cent of Canada's population and the 20 Punjabi-speaking lawmakers represent almost six per cent of the House of Commons, the report added.

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