Indo-Canadian Ranj Pillai sworn in as Premier of Canadian territory.

Indo-Canadian Ranj Pillai was sworn in as the new Premier of the Canadian territory on the Yukon on Saturday, making him just the second person from the community to hold that post.

Pillai took the oath during a ceremony by the administrator of the Yukon Adeline Webber, at the Jim Smith Building in the capital of the territory Whitehorse.

Pillai, who has roots in Kerala, will also serve as the Minister responsible for the Executive Council Office, Yukon Housing Corporation and Minister of Economic Development.

Six other Cabinet Ministers were also sworn in.

“I am honoured to serve the great people of the Yukon as their next Premier. My Cabinet and I are committed to improving the lives of Yukoners and we look forward to continuing the important work to move the territory forward. The Yukon has the strongest economy in the country and provides residents with an exceptional quality of life,” Pillai said in a statement released by the Yukon government.

Pillai was unanimously confirmed as the ruling Yukon Liberal Party’s new leader last Sunday and on Monday, met with Angelique Bernard, commissioner of the Yukon, to share his intention to serve as the territory’s 10th Premier, equivalent of chief minister.

Pillai was born in the province of Nova Scotia but has been long settled in the Yukon. A businessperson by background, he was first elected to the Legislative Assembly as MLA for Porter Creek South in November 2016, and was inducted into the Cabinet as Deputy Premier and Minister of Energy, Mines and Resources, and Economic Development. He was re-elected in April 2021.

Pillai replaced Sandy Silver, who had been Premier since 2012, the longest such tenure among incumbents at this time.

Pillai became just the second Indian-origin Premier in Canadian history, following Ujjal Dosanjh who held that post in the province of British Columbia between 2000 and 2001.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau spoke to Pillai on Friday and congratulated him on being selected as the Premier. “The two leaders discussed key areas for cooperation and how they plan to build on the strong collaboration between their two governments in delivering for the people of the Yukon,” a release from the prime minister’s office stated.

Pillai has been an enthusiastic supporter of strengthening ties with India. In fact, in December, he met with India’s high commissioner to Canada Sanjay Kumar Verma, in Ottawa. At that tine, he tweeted, “There are many opportunities for the Yukon and India to work together including post-secondary connections to the hospitality industry; labour force recruitment for the tourism and health care industries; critical mineral development and the start-up and technology sector.”

Pillai also participated in Pravasi Bharatiya Diwas celebrations organised by the Indian consulate in Vancouver last year.

Pillai is married with two children.

Source- Hindustan Times.

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