Jasbir Sandhu

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Jasbir Sandhu
Member of the Canadian Parliament
for Surrey North
In office
May 30, 2011 – October 19, 2015
Preceded by Dona Cadman
Succeeded by Randeep Sarai
Personal details
Born (1966-04-21) April 21, 1966 (age 52)
Punjab, India
Political party New Democratic Party
Spouse(s) Simi
Residence Surrey, British Columbia
Alma mater Royal Roads University
Simon Fraser University
Profession Politician

Jasbir Sandhu (born April 21, 1966) is a former Canadian politician. He was a Member of Parliament in the 41st Parliament. He was elected to the House of Commons in the 2011 federal election and represented the electoral district of Surrey North for the New Democratic Party. He has served as the Official Opposition's critic on Public Safety and for the Asia-Pacific Gateway project.

As a child, Sandhu immigrated to Canada where he completed high school and graduated from Simon Fraser University and Royal Roads University with a MBA. He worked at the Justice Institute of British Columbia as a program coordinator. He helped operate a program which provided training and testing of taxi drivers in Metro Vancouver. Sandhu was the spokesperson for the Prof Mohan Singh Memorial Foundation which advocated for an apology from the federal government over its actions during the Komagata Maru incident.


As a child, Jasbir, with his family, emigrated to Canada from Punjab, India, where he was born. He lived in Surrey and graduated from Queen Elizabeth Secondary School. He worked at his family's restaurant and as a taxi driver while attending Simon Fraser University where he graduated with a bachelor's degree, and then Royal Roads University where he received a Master's of Business Administration.[1] Beginning in the mid-1990s Sandhu began working as an instructor and program coordinator at the Justice Institute. Under the province's SuperHost program, the City of Vancouver initiated a new permitting system, put into effect in 1997, for taxi drivers at the Justice Institute.[2] Sandhu became the program manager of this program called TaxiHost, mandatory for all taxi drivers, in which drivers had to pass a written multiple-choice exam on topics such as defensive driving, customer service, local geography, and basic English.[3] While the program had a high failure rate initially,[4] it produced favourable results and was extended over Metro Vancouver and formed the basis for a similar system in Calgary.[3]

Sandhu was active in the community, volunteering at the United Way for one campaign and served a term as a board member at Vancity Community Foundation.[5] He also served as the spokesperson for the Prof Mohan Singh Memorial Foundation which lobbied for an apology from the federal government for the 1914 Komagata Maru incident.[6] Prime Minister Stephen Harper delivered the apology in August 2008 at a community gathering at Bear Creek in Surrey.[7][8] Sandhu and the group believed it would be accompanied by an apology in the House of Commons.[9] After expressing disappointment in the limited apology and the lack of acknowledgement in the House of Commons,[10] the government representatives accused Sandhu and the group of engaging in "dirty politics".[11]


With a snap election expected, the NDP nominated Sandhu as their candidate in the Surrey North riding.[1] While he was nominated in September 2009, the general election was eventually scheduled for May 2011. As the election approached, it became apparent the Surrey North race would be a close race between Sandhu and the incumbent MP Dona Cadman of the Conservative Party.[12][13] With Cadman being criticized for not voting on an HST bill[14] and for being largely absent from the public view,[15][16] Sandhu became the favourite to win.[17] In the May 2 vote, Sandhu defeated Cadman and five other candidates to win the riding with 40% of the vote.

In the 41st Parliament, with Sandhu's New Democratic Party forming the official opposition, party leader Jack Layton appointed him as critic for public safety. As such Sandhu spoke out against the costs of the Conservative government's crime bills which involved minimum sentencing, internet surveillance, and opening large new penal facilities.[18][19][20] Sandhu hosted a public forum at the Surrey campus of SFU concerning public safety and crime issues.[21] He sat on three standing committees: Public Safety and National Security, Justice and Human Rights, and International Trade. During the NDP leadership election, he endorsed Brian Topp.[22] After Thomas Mulcair won, Sandhu was moved to the role of critic on Asia-Pacific Gateway project, effective April 2012.


  1. ^ a b "Sandhu gets NDP nod in Surrey-North". The Leader. Surrey, British Columbia. September 21, 2009. p. 1. 
  2. ^ Johnson, Gail (July 3, 1997). "Cabbies cry: 'No fare'". The Province. Vancouver. p. A2. 
  3. ^ a b Richardson, Brendan (January 17, 2002). "Cabbie wants war of words: Angry driver challenges boss of taxi commission over new English test". Calgary Herald. Calgary. p. B1. 
  4. ^ "Lots of cabbies fail standards test [Vancouver's TaxiHost program]". NewsgroupPress NewsWire Canadian Press NewsWire Check |newsgroup= value (help). July 3, 1997. 
  5. ^ "Restaurant owner chosen as NDP candidate". The Peace Arch News. White Rock, British Columbia. September 28, 2009. p. 21. 
  6. ^ Ditchburn, Jennifer (March 14, 2007). "Ottawa considers options to recognize 1914 ship incident". The Globe and Mail. p. S2. 
  7. ^ Bolan, Kim (May 12, 2008). "Apology on the way for Indo-Canadians; Komagata Maru turned away in 1914 'was a black mark in nation's history'". The Vancouver Sun. p. B1. 
  8. ^ Bolan, Kim (August 5, 2008). "Harper apologizes". The Province. Vancouver. p. A14. 
  9. ^ Matas, Robert (August 6, 2008). "'We were duped,' Indo-Canadians say of PM's speech". The Globe and Mail. p. A4. 
  10. ^ Diakiw, Kevin (August 6, 2008). "PM "tricked us" over Komagata Maru apology". The Leader. Surrey, British Columbia. p. 1. 
  11. ^ Colley, Ted (August 8, 2008). "Uproar over apology is dirty politics: Tory MP". Surrey Now. Surrey, British Columbia. p. 1. 
  12. ^ Cassidy, Olivier (March 25, 2011). "B.C.'s six most exciting races this year". The Province. Vancouver. p. A10. 
  13. ^ Hall, Neal (April 7, 2011). "Surrey North appears to be a two-way battle". The Vancouver Sun. p. A11. 
  14. ^ Colley, Ted (April 1, 2011). "Cadman quiet on HST flip-flop but NDP hopeful has plenty to say". Surrey Now. Surrey, British Columbia. p. 7. 
  15. ^ Colley, Ted (April 22, 2011). "Desperately seeking Dona; Tory incumbent ducks debate, remains invisible as vote day looms". Surrey Now. Surrey, British Columbia. p. 1. 
  16. ^ Diakiw, Kevin (April 25, 2011). "Cadman won't talk to press or attend all-candidates meetings". The Leader. Surrey, British Columbia. p. 1. 
  17. ^ Austin, Ian (April 15, 2011). "Davies sees an NDP surge in B.C.". The Province. Vancouver. p. A14. 
  18. ^ Smith, Teresa; Jeff Davis (July 22, 2011). "Tories out of touch on crime, critic says". Edmonton Journal. Edmonton. p. A13. 
  19. ^ Curry, Bill (November 19, 2011). "Prison system faces shortfalls in services due to crowding". The Globe and Mail. p. A4. 
  20. ^ Zytaruk, Tom (February 16, 2012). "Internet surveillance bill nothing but snooping: MP". Surrey Now. Surrey, British Columbia. p. A3. 
  21. ^ Zytaruk, Tom (February 23, 2012). "Crime Act 'pure theatre'; Head of criminology school says Tories used Act to 'herd electorate' in last election". Surrey Now. Surrey, British Columbia. p. A3. 
  22. ^ "No NDP, Liberal merger, Mulcair says; Topp won't rule out future coalition". National Post. October 17, 2011. p. A5. 

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