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Canada’s first Indian-origin minister dead
Published on 22 Sep. 2010 10:34 PM IST
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New Delhi-born Sindi Hawkins (earlier Satinder Kaur Ahluwalia), who became the first Indian-origin provincial minister in Canada, died in Calgary on Tuesday after a prolonged battle with leukaemia.
The 52-year-old Sikh woman represented the constituency of Kelowna-Mission in the British Columbia provincial assembly from 1996 till last year when she pulled out of the fray because of her illness.
Sindi went on to become the deputy speaker, then the minister of state for intergovernmental relations and finally the minister of health planning in British Columbia province.
Before entering politics, she was a nurse for 12 years. Reacting to the news of her death, British Columbia premier Gordon Campbell said, “Today is a sombre day for British Columbia; we have lost an inspirational person, an advocate, a role model and a great community leader.
“Anyone who ever met Sindi was struck by her remarkable spirit for everything she put her efforts toward.’’
The premier, under whom she served as a minister, added, “She was an incredibly kind and considerate human being who dedicated her life to helping others. She was able to connect with people from all walks of life, something she showcased in her careers as a nurse, lawyer, elected official and cancer advocate.’’
After she was diagnosed with myeloid leukaemia in 2004, she recovered twice on bone marrow - donated by her sister - transplantations.
As the province’s minister for health planning, Hawkins played an important role in the expansion of programmes for training of nurses and doctors. A post-graduate in neuroscience nursing, she was the first Canadian nurse to be certified in her field by the Canadian Nursing Association.
She was also the first Indian-origin woman to get elected in Canada in 1996.

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