UJJAL DOSANJH Biography - Theater, Opera and Movie personalities


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The Honorable Ujjal Dosanjh, PC, MP (b. 1947, India) is a Canadian politician and lawyer.


Dosanjh is a member of the Liberal government of Paul Martin, serving as the nineteenth federal Minister of Health. Previously he was the NDP Premier of British Columbia.


Provincial Politics


Dosanjh was elected as a member of the Provincial Legislature of British Columbia in 1992, and was later appointed as the province’s Attorney General by Premier Glen Clark.


After Clark resigned amid scandal, Dosanjh succeeded him to become leader of British Columbia’s New Democratic Party and BC’s 33rd Premier on February 24, 2000. Notably, this made him Canada’s first non-white and first Indo-Canadian Provincial Premier.


When Dosanjh took office, the NDP government was deeply unpopular, due to the lingering controversy around former leader and premier Glen Clark, and Dosanjh proved unable to distance himself from the controversy. Amid criticism from the opposition parties, Dosanjh remained in office for nearly a year before calling a much-wanted election. It was assumed his party would suffer terribly, and as a result Dosanjh attempted to use his remaining days in power to improve the NDP’s standing by implementing several new policies, such as tax cuts.


When the election was eventually called, Dosanjh remained on the defensive for virtually the entire campaign. He attempted to distance himself from the Clark scandals by pointing out that as Attorney-General, he had been the person who announced the criminal investigation against Clark, which forced the Premier’s resignation. The attempts did not work, however and Dosanjh’s attempts to rebuild the party under his personal leadership failed.


The NDP government had become so unpopular under Clark that in Dosanjh’s campaign the party’s name was almost never used on posters and ads, with the focus instead being on Dosanjh himself. Though his personal approval ratings remained high, voters were ultimately unable to separate his leadership from that of his predecessor.


Dosanjh led the NDP to overwhelming defeat in the provincial election of 2001, winning just two of 79 seats. His own seat was lost, and Dosanjh announced his resignation that night. With the accession of Liberal premier Gordon Campbell, Mr. Dosanjh returned to practicing law and Joy MacPhail became interim leader of the NDP on June 16 2001, one month after the election debacle.


Federal Politics


In 2004, Ujjal Dosanjh re-entered politics as a candidate for Paul Martin’s Liberal Party of Canada in the 2004 Canadian election. Controversially, Martin appointed him directly as Liberal candidate in the riding of Vancouver South, bypassing the usual nomination election among resident party members. Dosanjh’s departure from his party also earned him criticism from past NDP supporters. Despite this Dosanjh’s bid was overwhelmingly successful as he won his riding by a 18194 to 10346 margin over his closest rival, Conservative Victor Soo Chan .


In July 2004, he was appointed Minister of Health in the federal Cabinet.