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Canada Appoints Female, Turbaned Sikh-Canadian Judge To British Columbia Supreme Court:
Palbinder Kaur Gill





Sikhs from around the world are celebrating a British Columbia woman's historic appointment as the first turbaned Sikh judge in Canada.

Lawyer Palbinder Kaur Shergill will be serving as a judge at B.C. Supreme Court in New Westminster. The announcement came Friday, June 24, 2017, from federal Justice Minister Jody-Wilson Raybould.

There are and have been other prominent Sikh judges in Canada, including B.C.'s former Attorney General Wally Singh Oppal, but this appointment is special.

"It's ... especially inspiring given that she's a woman and mostly the turban is associated with Sikh men," said Balpreet Singh who has worked with Palbinder for the past decade in her pro-bono role as general counsel for the World Sikh Organization.

Palbinder ran her own boutique law firm in Surrey, B.C., handling personal injury, civil litigation and constitutional law.

The latter is what set her work apart as a leading human rights advocate.

She has appeared in front of Canada's highest court, the Supreme Court of Canada in the nation’s capital, Ottawa, at least three times arguing cases that have shaped human rights and religious freedom laws in the country.

In 2012, she was appointed Queen's Counsel, a honourary title given by the province to lawyers who have made exceptional contributions to the profession.

She is also a recipient of the Queen's Golden Jubilee Medal for community service.

Palbinder was born in Punjab and raised in Williams Lake, B.C. Word of her appointment this week spread quickly across the Pacific.

Congratulations have been received from around the world and there have even been day-long celebrations in her ancestral village in Punjab.

"According to media reports, people and the media have been visiting her family there, people have been distributing sweets," he said.

"The Shiromani Gurdwara Prabandhak Committee, the body that manages Sikh shrines and gurdwaras on the subcontinent, has welcomed her to come to Punjab ... so she can be celebrated and honoured."

The federal government says outside of her legal work, Palbinder volunteers as a high school debate coach, plays several traditional Sikh classical music instruments and is "kicking her way" to a black belt in Tae Kwon Do.

[Courtesy: CBC News. Edited for]
June 26, 2017

Conversation about this article

1: Pardeep Singh Nagra (Toronto, Ontario, Canada), June 26, 2017, 1:40 PM.

A well-earned and deserved appointment. A proud moment for Canada. She will be a welcomed member of the Bench. Wishing Palbinder the best ... now go get that Black Belt!

2: Sandeep Singh Brar (Canada), June 27, 2017, 3:24 PM.

I've been a fan of Palbinder Kaur and also Ramandeep Kaur Grewal, another brilliant turbaned Sikh lawyer for a long time. Both happen to be incredibly intelligent and natural leaders who have done a ton of panthic seva. It's one thing to achieve success, its another to give back and not forget your community. Both Palbinder and Ramandeep are role models for all Canadians, not just Sikh women.

3: Hitpal Singh (New Zealand), June 29, 2017, 5:01 AM.

Indian Govt. nu pissu pehnde hongey. Sikhs, with their hard work and integrity, are as always flying high.

4: Kanwal Prakash Singh (Indianapolis, Indiana, USA), June 30, 2017, 8:24 AM.

Justice Sardarni Palbinder Kaur ji: Our hearty congratulations to you on your great honor and remarkable achievement; to the entire Sikh world to see one of our own elevated to such a position; and to the people of Canada on this well-deserved recognition. We can be certain that your appointment and selection was not based on your turban or Sikh faith identity; it is about your brilliance, hard work, dedication to the just interpretation, application, and understanding of the laws in place and in the highest tradition of the spirit of laws and justice. We celebrate your having earned this high honor. It does make it all the more remarkable that you are a turbaned Sikh and now a global icon for millions. This is what Guru Nanak must have meant and known when he gave the blessing to the thoughtful and hospitable residents of a village in Punjab some five hundred years ago: May you "Ujjarh Jao": scatter to the ends of the earth, share your goodness, serve humanity and prosper. In the appointment of Palbinder Kaur as a Judge of the Supreme Court of British Columbia, and thousands of other successful professionals and sevaks that have achieved great things, we see Guru Nanak's blessings manifested in reality before us. May Sutguru's light and guiding wisdom shine upon the entire Sikh Diaspora as we fulfill our destinies and serve causes that honor all faiths, cultures, and sacred traditions; respect, honor, and contribute to the proud legacy and institutions of humanity, and leave our own mark on the history and legends of our times and civilization.

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Palbinder Kaur Gill "

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