Ontario docs are leaving – patients have trouble finding good doctors


Dr. Sanjeet Saluja was born in Quebec, but patients often ask him where he’s from originally.






By anyone’s standards, Dr. Sanjeet Singh Saluja sounds like an “educated Canadian”, which is exactly what he is of course. His voice is calm and pleasant. Yet this doctor complains he continues to encounter “racism”.

While I would not wish to be treated by this doctor, I don’t consider this to be for racist reasons. As stated earlier (see  link below), I have an objection to the abundant facial hair which I consider unprofessional, unappetizing, unhygienic and not suitable for an ER doc. Dr. S.S.S.’s  “race” is not the problem, nor is his religion, though unfortunately it is Dr. S.S.S.’s religion which dictates his appearance. When patients tell the doc to “go back where he came from” (quite different from being asked where one is from) , I think it’s best to consider the source and ignore it. I’m sure Dr. S.S.S. does not need validation by an uneducated, ignorant patient. We’ve all known such people in our lives. Difference is, when you’re not a visible minority you justhave to deal with it, without recourse to “racism” as Dr. S.S.S. must know.

In India, fair skin is so highly valued that marriage ads request partners with “fair skin”. while those with darker skin face discrimination on every level. This  brand of racism amongst Indians continues even in Canada.  Yet Dr. S.S.S. considers fellow Canadians racist when they ask where he is from or when it is assumed he might enjoy treating the Sikh community!        

Dr. S.S.S. insists he is a Canadian and is absolutely right of course. However, as his religion is so very “visible” in that he looks “different”  and as this is what patients see, it seems disingenuous when he acts shocked and insulted when people ask “where he is from”.
Why is it “racist” to ask where one is from? Would Dr. S.S.S. be a lesser person if he were a first-generation immigrant? Would being identified as being from another continent imply he was somehow “inferior”? Judging from his reaction to the question from patients, Dr. S.S.S. certainly seems to think so.
It always surprises me that the very people who so obviously came from “elsewhere” but are now “proud Canadians”  (and don’t let anyone dare assume otherwise)  will stand on University Avenue  – Toronto’s main thoroughfare  –   on Saturday afternoons, in full “ethnic” regalia,  with signs and placards, protesting a bad situation in the “old country”, somehow holding Canada responsible or implying it is the duty of Canadians to rectify the situation. 

I notice Dr. S.S.S. is referring to his “girlfriend”. Perhaps he wishes to impress by having a cause and making a mark by getting free publicity. Work in the ER may get a bit humdrum now and then.
As for the recruiter assuming Dr. S.S.S. would be pleased to be asked to work with like-minded Sikh patients in another province, Dr. S.S.S. is insulted, why? Is treating predominantly “Western” patients a step up the ladder for this Sikh physician, making  him socially superior to the Sikh community he does not want to treat?  Not being able to read Dr. S.S.S.’s mind she could hardly be faulted for thinking Dr. S.S.S. would be a “nice fit” for her province’s Sikh community. How was she to know Dr. S.S.S. wishes to avoid treating mainly Sikh patients ?  It’s no different when people are hired who speak certain languages so they may relate to others who also speak the language. No reason for Dr. S.S.S. to get his turban in a twist  as he is not forced to treat a predominantly Sikh group of patients Yet, the suggestion shocks and insults the good doctor.  .As bodies are much the same under the skin, and as patients of his own religion should not deter Dr. S.S.S. from wishing to treat them, one must assume Dr. S.S.S. discriminates against Sikh patients on the basis of colour,. It appears Dr. Sanjeet Singh Saluja himself is the racist, not the “Canadian” public.

Why should anyone be insulted when asked where one “is from”?
It’s a great opportunity to share a little bit about one’s culture.
If being asked if one is from another continent is somehow insulting then I suggest the problem is with the self-esteem of the person being asked. As Dr. S.S.S. dresses differently from the average Canadian, he will continue to be asked about his country of origin. There is no reason to be “shocked” or “insulted” and his reaction to the question is passive-aggressive. True, he may be from St. Hubert, as are his parents, but it is obvious that somewhere along the line, his people immigrated from India. How is it insulting to be asked about that? Swedes, Germans, British, French, etc. who came to this country will happily tell you about their families coming to Canada several generations ago. They will often proudly offer this information without being asked. There must be “shame” attached to have forebears from India if the question causes Dr. S.S.S. to be shocked and insulted.
I believe Dr. S.S.S. can rest easy in the expectation that in future – with so many mixed marriages resulting in mixed racial children – the interest in one’s country of origin (racism)  will wane and ultimately disappear as colour will no longer distinguish us. 


Who decided it is taboo (racism) to notice someone is different (i.e. dress, language, colour) and thus to be curious about this person’s country of origin?  As for visible minorities ……..  being “Caucasian” in Toronto is definitely on top of the list of visible minorities. Just look around on subway, bus or streetcar. Hospitals are directed to be “culturally sensitive”. I know this does not extend to my country of origin but generally refers to people from ethnic minorities of colour. Why? Are they somehow “different”?  Perhaps they should feel insulted by being singled out on the basis of race/colour  –  however well-intended   –   assuming they need extra assistance, not being smart enough to figure things out for themselves.  I’ve never seen any public notices translated in public places in my native tongue, either in Toronto or Montreal, though translations for other minorities are well represented. Dr. Sanjeet Singh Saluja comes across as a “crybaby” with too much free time on his hands and Caucasians” are the scapegoats of choice.

“Plus ça change, plus c’est la même chose”  { Jean-Baptiste Alphonse Karr in the January 1849 issue of his journal Les Guêpes (“The Wasps”)}


Let’s acknowledge we are all different and not pretend we do not notice. Let’s enjoy our differences and have the freedom to prefer some differences over others without being called racists.   Leave us the freedom to choose our friends, business partners, physicians  and other people we choose to interact with.  Let’s not complain but move on if some people simply “don’t want to play with us”. “C’est la vie !”





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