As defense minister soldier Harjit Sajjan is among several Sikhs named to key places in Justin Trudeau’s administration, although sporting a turban and a thick beard, decorated him stood out in the Canadian military.
The veteran of wars in Bosnia and Afghanistan was appointed after the Liberals’ October 19 election triumph on Wednesday to the senior ministerial post.
He will be responsible for winding the combat mission in Canada down in Iraq and Syria, withdrawing from the US-led F-35 fighter jet program and quashing sexual misconduct.
He can also sit on the most effective cabinet committees of the brand new government, including espionage and public safety.
Produced in Punjab, India in 1970, Sajjan moved with his family at age five, settling in the Pacific coast city of Vancouver.
He worked including a stint as a detective with the gang crimes unit, as a police officer, before rising to the position of lieutenant colonel and joining the Canadian military.
Paradoxically, the initial unit although he applied 26 years ago, but stuck it out allegedly rejected him.
He would continue to deploy four times overseas to Afghanistan and Bosnia – where he earned honors for helping to weaken the sway of the Taliban — and became the first Sikh to control a Canadian army regiment.
Entering politics, a cluttered nomination that split the large Vancouver Sikh community was confronted by Sajjan.
Many ripped their membership cards that were Liberal up over the backing he received from former leaders of the World Sikh Organization (WSO), including Sajjan’s own father.