In His Heart, He’s Still a Squamisher

By Gagandeep Ghuman
Published: Dec. 27, 2013

Mr. Albrecht took him to fishing, Kevin Losch took him to motor biking, Mr. Elliott was his baseball mentor, and Mrs. Andersen took him to his soccer games, along with her three boys in the car.

“Mrs. Andersen was my soccer mom,” says Raj Sherman, sitting in the Howe Sound Inn, his memories illuminated by a home town visit.

Raj Sherman is now an emergency room doctor and the MLA of the Alberta legislature.

But then, more than 30 years ago, he was an immigrant kid from India trying to find his place in Squamish, a frontier logging town of hard looks.

RAJ -pic

Raj Sherman

In a recent visit to his hometown, he remembered the name calling and the race-tinged fights, but also the colour-blind kindness of Andersens and Albrechts.

Raj Sherman’s story is the archetypal tale that many immigrant parents might use to inspire their kids.

“You can take the boy out of Squamish, but you can’t take Squamish out of the boy.”– Raj Sherman

Sherman was born in India and moved to Squamish in 1972 to join his father, Kirti Kumar Sharma, who worked at the local mill.

While his dad worked double shifts at the mill, his mom worked as a seamstress at Mrs. Sweeney’s factory. In the summer, while his father worked long hours in the mill, his mother took him berry picking to the Fraser Valley.

Despite or perhaps because of the hardscrabble life, the Shermans stressed the need for education. It was another challenge that had to be mounted, says Sherman.

“When I arrived in Canada at the end of Grade 1, the only English I knew was “mom, dad, and hi,” Sherman said.

To change that, Sherman said he read as many comics and hardy buys books as he could. It seemed to work.

By grades 11 and 12, he had received the top all-around male student award at Howe Sound Secondary School.

Overcoming the language and cultural challenges in Squamish also prepared The Gazelle (his nickname from high school) for bigger challenges—in the emergency ward, and in the Alberta legislature, where he is the official opposition leader.

Sherman moved to Alberta in the 81, where he attended the University of Alberta, took a degree in medicine, and worked at emergency room in Edmonton, where he still works on the weekends.

His upbringing in Squamish with a focus on hard work and education has a lot to do with his success, he says.

“What I am doing today is as a result of the lessons I learned from other in Squamish.”

“You can take the boy out of Squamish, but you can’t take the Squamish out of the boy.”

 

Comments

  1. Eric Andersen says:

    Great story. Few Squamishers have gone out into the big wide world and accomplished as much as Raj Sherman. And I am sure there will be more to report about Raj in future.

  2. Paul Lancaster says:

    Its is a great story and a great result. Well done

  3. Anonymous says:

    Absolutely great story, well done everyone involved!