By Tenzin Dharpo
Bhutila Karpoche after her win with supporters. (EDUARDO LIMA STAR METRO)
DHARAMSHALA, June 8: A Tibetan immigrant, Bhutila Karpoche, has created history by winning a seat in the Legislative Assembly of Ontario in the Canada elections making her the first Tibetan in North America to be elected to office. She was representing the New Democrat Party (NDP) in the Parkdale-High Park federal electoral district where there is high concentration of Tibetans and immigrants from the Indian sub-continent.
Karpoche beat fellow candidates Liberal Nadia Guerrera, Adam Pham for the Progressive Conservatives, Halyna Zalucky for the Green Party of Ontario, and Matthias Nunno and Jay Watts for the Libertarian and Communist parties, with an unassailable lead in the polls that happened on June 7.
The Tibetan immigrant who has worked for Cheri DiNovo, MPP for Parkdale-High Park for 11 years, and in her constituency office, and as her executive assistant, announced she will be running for the seat of Member of Provincial Parliament (MPP) in the district of Ontario in Canada last September.
Bhutila Karpoche earlier said that she would work to improve the lives of everyday families in Ontario by pushing for stronger public schools, better health care services, and affordable housing and employment standards.
The mother of one lives in Toronto, where she has been actively involved in the Tibetan movement for over a decade. Karpoche had also been an activist with the Students for a Free Tibet, Canada, before joining DiNovo’s office.
Earlier she served on the Board of Directors of the Canadian Tibetan Association of Ontario, the largest Tibetan association in Canada. In 2015, she served on the steering committee of the International Tibet Network.
The Canadian Tibetan who immigrated to the country in 2002 with her family received her BSc from the University of British Columbia and her MPH from the University of Toronto. She also holds a PhD candidature in Policy Studies and had worked in the office of Cheri DiNovo, a former Member of the Ontario Legislature.
Her history making feat has attracted congratulatory wishes from her voters and Tibetans around the world. Central Tibetan Administration President Dr. Lobsang Sangay has also written, “We congratulate Bhutila Karpoche and wish her success. As a Tibetan it is a moment of great pride for all of us and hope that we will see more of such persons of Tibetan origin holding public offices in their respective countries. This is also a part of the vision of the Central Tibetan Administration.”