By Vishal Gulati
Chandigarh, Apr 2 (IANS): With roots dating back to the 1800s, April is Sikh Heritage Month -- a time to celebrate and honour the rich history and culture of Canada's Sikh community.
"With 800,000 Sikhs calling Canada home, we have the largest Sikh diaspora, with roots of the first Sikh in Canada dating back to the 1800s," said Punjab-origin Member of Parliament (MP) from Brampton West, Kamal Khera.
At 26, Khera was the youngest to have won in the elections in Canada in 2015. She represents Canada's ruling Liberal party.
"As a Sikh, I am proud of the contributions and achievements of our community!" she tweeted.
In one of her visits to Punjab, she said: "My counterpart in India is always with heavy security, I move freely."
Proud of vibrant Sikh community, Sonia Sidhu, MP from Brampton South, tweeted, "April 1 marks the beginning of Sikh Heritage Month in Canada and as Canadians, we are proud of our country's strong and vibrant Sikh community."
"This month, let's continue to learn about Sikh Heritage in Canada."
Mayor of Brampton, Patrick Brown, said this year "we celebrate 10 years of Sikh Heritage Month in Ontario".
Among many of the events listed, he said he would also be hosting a special event to award Gurbax Singh Malhi the key to the Brampton city on April 18.
As a mark of respect for Canada making it the second largest Sikh population in the world, the Mississauga Civic Centre clock tower was lighted with orange, part of the city's Community Recognition Programme.
Learning the faith of the Sikhs, another MP Francesco Sorbara said, "During this month we recognise the contributions to our country by the more than 800,000 Canadians of Sikh heritage, learn about their faith and rich history."
Randeep Sarai, Member of Parliament for Surrey Centre, said, "This month, I encourage you all to take this opportunity to learn more about the Sikh faith!"
India-origin Minister of National Defence, Anita Anand, said Sikh Heritage Month "is a time to recognise the many contributions of the Sikh community across Canada. Today, I joined members of the Oakville and Halton Sikh community at the flag raising at Oakville Town Hall".
"This is an opportunity for Ontarians to come together to learn more about the Sikh faith and celebrate the many ways Sikh Ontarians help build a stronger and better Ontario," said Ontario's Minister of Citizenship and Multiculturalism, Michael Ford.
MP for Vancouver South, Harjit Sajjan, said, "Learn about how the Sikh values of equality and 'seva' (selfless service) are reflected in what we as Canadians strive toward."
Another Punjab-origin Aman Singh, MLA for Richmond-Queensborough, added, "On behalf of our British Columbia New Democratic Party government, our caucus and colleagues at your opening gala for Sikh Heritage Month. I know there are many events planned throughout the month."
According to Sikh Heritage British Columbia, its philosophy is providing a space where the Sikh community can connect with each other and with neighbouring communities to help each other prosper, learn and grow.
Its promise is, "Create a space where Sikhs and non-Sikhs can come together to create connections and relationships for prosperity."