Raj Chouhan makes history as first South Asian Speaker of BC Legislature

Dec 7 2020, 11:01 am

Burnaby-Edmonds MLA Raj Chouhan has been appointed as the new speaker for the BC legislature.

Chouhan is the first individual of South Asian heritage to be elected Speaker in British Columbia or in any Canadian parliamentary jurisdiction.

Chouhan was first elected as a member of the legislative assembly for Burnaby-Edmonds in 2005 and was re-elected in 2009, 2013, 2017 and 2020. He served as deputy Speaker from 2017 to 2020 and as assistant deputy Speaker from 2013 to 2017.

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

Born in the Punjab province of India, Chouhan immigrated to Canada in 1973 and has been a lifelong advocate for labour rights, human rights, and racial equality.

The election of a Speaker takes place on the first sitting day after a provincial general election or when the position becomes vacant. The Speaker presides over all sittings of the legislative assembly, ensures Standing Orders are applied equally and fairly, and protects the rights of all members of the legislative assembly to participate in parliamentary proceedings.

Chouhan will chair the all-party Legislative Assembly Management Committee and oversee the legislative assembly administration.

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