BC NDP’s Raj Chouhan elected first Punjabi Speaker of a legislature in North America
VICTORIA – B.C. New Democrat MLA Raj Chouhan is the first Punjabi person from India to ever be elected as a Speaker of a legislature in North America.
“I am deeply honoured to have been elected by my colleagues to serve as Speaker,” said Chouhan, the MLA for Burnaby-Edmonds who was elected as Speaker of British Columbia’s Legislature Monday.
“I have spent my career advocating for the rights of every person and working to end discrimination and inequality, and I look forward to continue serving the people of B.C. by ensuring our Assembly operates in a fair and just manner.”
Chouhan, who has represented the riding of Burnaby-Edmonds since 2005, served as Deputy Speaker in the last Parliament. Prior to his election as MLA, Raj founded the Canadian Farmworkers’ Union, and served as the director of bargaining for the Hospital Employees Union for 18 years.
As Speaker, Chouhan will preside over debates and ensure that the Assembly’s established rules of behaviour and procedure are followed.
The election of the Speaker marks the first action of B.C.’s 42nd Parliament, which will resume sitting this afternoon for the Speech from the Throne. During this session, the New Democrat caucus will be focused on helping people stay safe and ensuring British Columbians are supported during the COVID-19 pandemic.