Erwin Singh Braich, the first Sikh Billionaire in North America is a name not as familiar to the community as it should be.
The story of the first Sikh Billionaire is a saga with many twists and turns, including what Erwin and his associates claim involves an attempt to erode, and extinguish Erwin Singh’s reputation and empire by certain conspiring parties. Although the exact story of Erwin Singh’s rise to success appears to be a seemingly lengthy and complicated tale, it may be more easily understood, simplified.
Erwin Singh Braich is the son of Herman Singh Braich (1911- 1976), a successful businessman and forest industry pioneer who immigrated from Punjab, India, to Canada in 1927 and passed away in 1976. After his untimely death, his son, Erwin Singh Braich, at age twenty, left his studies at Simon Fraser University in Burnaby, British Columbia, to assume control of his father’s businesses. In the subsequent years, he built his family businesses into a multi-million dollar conglomerate, further expanding what his father had begun. He accomplished all of this while juggling his many duties as the eldest son in a family of nine, along with his role as husband, and father of two children.
As a successful businessman, it is said that Erwin Singh Braich was also a quiet philanthropist giving back to his community in many ways including:
- The major source of funding in the planning and construction of the Mission Gurdwara. Mr. Braich donated in excess of one million dollars, but this was overshadowed by the lead role he played in selecting, purchasing, and garnering approval at all levels for re-zoning of the five acre parcel on which the Gurdwara was eventually built.
- Assisting to rebuild the B.C. Sports Hall of Fame, which was relocated to B.C. Place Stadium from the Pacific National Exhibition (PNE). By contributing in excess of one-half million dollars; Braich’s contribution was honoured by a Special Exhibits Gallery being named after him.
- A several hundred thousand dollar donation which led to the construction of the Erwin Singh Braich Sports Complex at the University of the Fraser Valley.
- Paid for hiring Douglas Cardinal, a Governor General Award winning, and one of Canada’s most distinguished architects, to design the master plan and concept at the Xa:ytem Longhouse Interpretive Centre, a Sto:lo First Nations site located in Mission. Mr. Braich has been honoured by the First Nations by being given the title of Si:yam, which means respected leader
But, in a twist of fate, Erwin Singh’s ability to personally fund community projects was hampered in 1999. Erwin Singh Braich was subjected to what some say was a malicious court ordered proceedings, allegedly illustrating the harsh realities of surviving as a Sikh businessman – the ultimate minority in a cut-throat world.
Erwin Singh Braich says he was and is the victim of:
- Being petitioned into an involuntary bankruptcy, which was done in a failed attempt to extort money from Braich and Trusts which he controlled.
- Reckless and unprofessional behavior by Trustee in Bankruptcy (KPMG) which led to losses in excess of $800 million dollars.
- Shoddy and negligent police investigations and abuses of power by Government agencies.