Canadian street named Cheema Drive after Indian-born doctor

Chandigarh: A new street in Winnipeg, Canada, has been named after Gulzar Singh Cheema, the first Indian-born Canadian doctor to be elected to a legislative assembly in the country in 1988. It is now called Cheema Drive.

Cheema, who now practises family medicine in British Columbia, was re-elected in 1990 for the Liberal party in The Maples.

“We were knocking doors and they shut the door, sometimes and not all the time. So our campaigns made them nervous,” Gulzar said while recalling his earlier election campaigns.

Describing the city as remarkable, he said, while unveiling the new street name in northwest Winnipeg last week: “I am here in the city where it all started. We shall never forget this place.”

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau lauded the contribution of Cheema by saying that he was among few personalities who have the honor to become a member of two provincial assemblies and he was first elected MLA of the Indo-Canadian community.

“Dr Gulzar Cheema you have shown, and continue to show, the true meaning of leadership and dedication to one’s community and country, and embody the true spirit of the city of Winnipeg,” said the Prime Minister.

Cheema hoped his legacy helps inspire people to get involved in their communities like he did years ago.

Photo: IANS

“It’s so important to get involved. Be heard, be honest, be determined,” he said.

Cheema was elected in British Columbia in May 2001 to represent the riding of Surrey-Panorama Ridge.

On June 5, he was appointed as a member of the Executive Council for the government of British Columbia as Minister of State for Mental Health.

He received his bachelor of medicine and surgery from Panjab University, interned at the University of Newfoundland and was a resident at Saskatoon’s University Hospital.