By Choekyi Lhamo
DHARAMSHALA, Nov. 15: Canadian politician of Tibetan origin and Member of Ontario Provincial Parliament Bhutila Karpoche has been appointed the First Deputy Chair by the 43rd Ontario Legislative Assembly on Saturday. “Honoured to serve as Deputy Speaker for the 43rd Parliament of the Ontario Legislature. As a presiding officer, I will strive to apply the rules of the House with fairness and respect,” she tweeted following her appointment. Karpoche made history in 2018 by winning a seat in the Legislative Assembly of Ontario, making her the first person of Tibetan heritage in North America to be elected into public office.
The exile Tibetan parliament Speaker Khenpo Sonam Tenphel congratulated MPP Karpoche on Monday for achieving such a high post in the Canadian parliament. “Your election as the Deputy Speaker clearly reflects your charismatic leadership and the huge degree of trust and confidence that your colleagues and the people of Canada have in you. We also remember the historic bill 131 tabled by you to mark the July month of every year as Tibetan Heritage Month. I truly commend you on your achievements so far,” the Speaker said.
Within three years into office, Karpoche proposed a bill to mark July as the Tibetan Heritage Month which subsequently became law in Ontario in Sept. 2020. She had then addressed the parliament by marking the importance of this month, “July is an important month for Tibetans around the world. On July 6, we as a community celebrate the birthday of His Holiness the fourteenth Dalai Lama Tenzin Gyatso, an honorary Canadian citizen . . . This day signifies the resilience of the Tibetan people.”
MPP Bhutila holds degrees from the University of British Columbia (UBC) and the University of Toronto. She is currently a Ph.D candidate studying public health policy at Toronto Metropolitan University, where she received the RBC Immigrant, Diversity, and Inclusion Project Award. She has been voted Toronto’s Best MPP by Now Magazine readers in 2019, 2020, and 2021; Toronto’s Best Local Politician by Toronto Star readers in 2019; and also one of Canada’s Top 25 Immigrants by Canadian Immigrant Magazine in 2022.