First Sikh MP Nurtured Dreams of Politics from Childhood

August 30, 2004

Source: Toronto Star

On August 30, 2004 the Toronto Star ran a feature article on Ruby Dhalla, newly-elected Canadian MP. The article gives information on Dhalla's longtime political interests: "You might know her as a chiropractor, a part-time model or a blossoming Bollywood actress, but Ruby Dhalla has always known her calling. Politics. 'You have to love it,' says Dhalla, 30, the newly elected MP from Brampton-Springdale. 'I've sacrificed so much of my life, but it hasn't seemed like a sacrifice. (During high school) people would go off and party and I would go to a policy convention. I've always had a love for federal politics and the Liberal party, so now I'm living my dream.' The dream dates back to 1984, when the Dhallas were living in Winnipeg. After Indian government troops massacred Sikhs at the Golden Temple in Punjab, Ruby, 10, wrote to Indian prime minister Indira Gandhi, asking her to settle the situation peacefully. Dhalla made international news when Gandhi wrote back, inviting the entire Dhalla family to visit her in India. The Dhallas never met Gandhi — the prime minister was assassinated as the family waited in London for a connecting flight to India — but Ruby says the letter helped push her toward politics. 'For her to take the time and the initiative to write me back was a very welcoming feeling,' Dhalla says. 'It made me feel I belonged in the political process.' Dhalla joined the Liberal party at age 12, attending events with her uncle, Paul Dhillon, who helped raise Ruby after the death of her father, Nick. She has been passionate about politics from the beginning. Dhalla has won every election she has ever entered — dating back to Grade 8, when she was elected president of her junior high school."