On January 15, 2002, Prime Minister Jean Chrétien announced the appointment of Herb S. Dhaliwal, M.P., as Minister of Natural Resources and political minister for British Columbia.
Herb Dhaliwal was born in Chiheru, Punjab in 1952, and came to Canada at age six with his family, not speaking a word of English. He grew up in Vancouver South-Burnaby and graduated with a Bachelor of Commerce degree from the University of British Columbia in 1977, where he was active in student politics. Following his graduation from university, Mr. Dhaliwal started a small business in the basement of his house. This one-man building maintenance company eventually expanded to employ 500 people in various enterprises. He has held, he says, every job you can think of, from gas jockey to taxi driver.
Prior to entering politics, Mr. Dhaliwal's career as a small businessman and entrepreneur spanned more than 25 years in the private and public sectors, specializing in transportation, maintenance, and real estate development. As an entrepreneur, he held the position of vice-chair on the Board of Directors for the British Columbia Hydro and Power Authority and of chair on British Columbia Hydro's Budget and Audit Committees.
Mr. Dhaliwal was first elected to the House of Commons in 1993, representing the federal riding of Vancouver South. As Member of Parliament, he was Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Fisheries and Oceans and served on the Steering Committee on Fisheries and Oceans and the Standing Committees on Finance and Fisheries and Oceans. He was designated vice-chair of the Standing Committee on Health and the Task Force on Aquaculture, and chair of the British Columbia Liberal Caucus and the Northern and Western Liberal Caucus.
In 1996, Mr. Dhaliwal played an active and prominent role as a member of the Prime Minister's Team Canada trade mission to India. Mr. Dhaliwal led the Canadian observer presence for presidential elections to the Dominican Republic; and he has taken part in parliamentary delegations to Cuba and to UNESCO in New York City. He participated and addressed the International Parliamentary Union Conference in Beijing, China, which resulted in the acceptance of the Canadian delegations resolution banning the use of anti-personnel land mines.
In 1997, Mr. Dhaliwal was re-elected in the re-distributed riding of Vancouver South-Burnaby and appointed as Minister of National Revenue where he served until August 1999. Under Mr. Dhaliwals leadership at Revenue Canada, the federal department was restructured and re-named the Canada Customs and Revenue Agency (CCRA) to better serve the public, Canada's business community, and the provinces and territories. In 1998, as Minister of National Revenue, Mr. Dhaliwal accompanied Canadas then Governor General, Roméo LeBlanc, on his state visit to India. This state visit was the first-ever made to India by a Governor General.
On August 3rd, 1999, Mr. Dhaliwal was appointed Minister of Fisheries and Oceans and he was re-elected for a third consecutive time in November 2000. As Minister of Fisheries and Oceans, Mr. Dhaliwal led the ratification of the United Nations Fish Agreement in 30 countries around the globe, and took an active role in promoting oceans preservation he appointed a Ministerial Oceans Advisory Committee; in 2001 he instituted an annual international conference on Oceans Stewardship in Vancouver; in the same year he chaired the Ministerial Section of the UN Environment Program Meeting, where more than 100 countries were represented, for the Global Programme of Action for the Protection of the Marine Environment from Land-based Activities (GPA); and he attended the Oceans and Coasts Conference at Rio + 10 in Paris.
Mr. Dhaliwal also took an active and prominent role in promoting sustainable, environmentally responsible aquaculture development in Canada. As a recognition of his contribution, the Canadian Aquaculture Industry created the Herb Dhaliwal Sustainable Aquaculture Award.
Mr. Dhaliwal has the rare distinction of being the first South Asian to hold a Ministerial position anywhere in a Western democracy. In June 2000, Mr. Dhaliwal was included in the Vancouver Sun's listing as one of the hundred most influential British Columbians of the last 100 years. He spearheaded the creation of a commemorative postage stamp to celebrate and honour 100 years of Sikhs in Canada, in conjunction with the tercentenary of the Khalsa in April 1999.
Mr. Dhaliwal's interests include golfing, skiing, travelling, reading, jogging and tennis. His travels have taken him to many parts of the world.
He is married to Amrit and they have three children: Andrea, Justin, and Jessica.