Canadian Sikh Cabinet Minister Tim Uppal Describes Racist Incident in Ottawa

2014-09-11-tim uppal

EDMONTON, Canada—Edmonton MP Tim Uppal says he was the victim of a racist comment at an Ottawa tennis court.

Canada’s minister of state for multiculturalism said the incident occurred on Monday when a woman leaving the tennis court looked at him and his wife and said, “Are they members? Why can’t they play in the day? They don’t have jobs.”

On Monday, Uppal shared his confrontation on social media, both on Twitter and Facebook, adding that the worst part of the exchange was that his three children were with them at the time.

Today, Uppal took to Facebook to issue a statement:

“Thank you everyone for your words of support after my post last night. Canada is an incredibly diverse and pluralistic country that embraces the values of tolerance and equality of opportunity,” Uppal said.

“The comments directed at me and my family at an Ottawa tennis court were ignorant and disappointing to hear.

“While we are disturbed to encounter racism and bigotry and condemn it in all forms, I will take this opportunity to relay the importance to educators and parents to continue to teach their children about the fundamental Canadian value of respect.”

Supporters took to his Facebook page to issue statements of support, with one saying: “Please tell me you went over and introduced yourself and gave her one of your business cards.”

Uppal is a Sikh who commonly wears a bright, Tory-blue turban. His family immigrated to Canada from Punjab, India. He was born in B.C., but raised in Edmonton.

He was elected to the House of Commons in 2008, and was appointed minister of state for democratic reform in 2011.

In July 2013, he was appointed minister of state for multiculturalism by Prime Minister Stephen Harper in a cabinet shuffle.


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