Obhrai campaign to merge Core Conservative Values with Inclusiveness,
Diversity, and Strong Grassroots Democracy
September 6, 2016 – (Calgary) Hon. Deepak Obhrai, Member of Parliament for Calgary Forest Lawn and the longest serving MP of the Conservative Party, formally submitted his paperwork for the Leadership of the Conservative Party of Canada today.
“I can contribute immensely to Canada and to the Conservative Party based on my extensive experience as a community leader, Opposition and Government Member.” Deepak continues, “My Campaign will not only focus on core conservative values but will also be based on inclusion practices and embracing the diversity that is Canada. I wish to break the proverbial glass ceiling on institutional discrimination. I stand with young Canadians, new Canadians; with ALL Canadians.”
Deepak is no stranger to standing up for the rights of Grassroots and Minority voices. In 2014, Deepak openly opposed and urged his colleagues not to support Bill C-559 (Reform Act, 2013) stating that it would marginalize the power of Grassroots Democracy within the party. “Respecting and listening to the views of the membership of our party, and in fact the general public, is the nectar of political life. The Reform Act, in my view, is a direct attack on the rights of grassroots Canadians.” (Deepak’s letter to MPs and Senators, February 6, 2014).
Earlier this year, Deepak called out his own party again for raising membership fees to $25 per year, claiming the move would isolate ethnic communities and minorities whom they should be embracing. The new rules were turning the Conservative Party into a place for those who could “Afford” to be part of the political party, thus making it an “elitist club” he told the media. The party subsequently changed the rules.
He also coined the phrase “A Canadian is A Canadian is A Canadian, back in 2014 when he stood up in Parliament and questioned his own government’s Bill C-24; a bill to revoke Canadian citizenship of dual citizens. Deepak went on record in parliament to say “One of the strongest human rights principles is to create all Canadian citizens equal, no matter what. A Canadian is a Canadian is a Canadian.” (Hansard, May 28, 2014).
Deepak, who has been one of Canada’s strongest voices on Human Rights in the International Arena for the last 9 years, has been instrumental in cultivating the tremendous respect Canada is shown throughout the world. This knowledge and experience led to Deepak being appointed to represent Canada and the Prime Minister at the 23rd Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting in Sri Lanka, by Prime Minister Stephen Harper.
Deepak’s commitment to core Conservative principles includes:
– Strong fiscal regime
– Balanced budget, responsible taxation, and accountable government.
– Strengthening polices around public and national security.
– Continue Canada’s strong tradition of supporting national defence
– Strengthen environment polices and supporting green industries (creative solutions
other than carbon tax).
– Progressive social policy based on rights and responsibilities;
– Develop immigration policies that shape immigration to be seen as a Strength, not a Threat. Canada was built by immigrants.
“My work in the last 19 years has had me do outreach to so many marginalized Canadians that are not just visible minorities, but also include Young Canadians, Francophones, Aboriginals and so many more, who feel that their issues are not being fully addressed currently in the Conservative Party.”
By bringing these Conservative core values and merging them with Inclusiveness and Diversity Policies, Deepak believes the Conservative Party will be a home for all Canadians, and ensure that Canada not only continues to be a leader on the world stage but is economically responsible to its citizens as well.
Condensed Historical Accomplishments, Accolades and Additional Quotes
Mr. Obhrai has the distinction of being Canada’s longest serving Parliamentary Secretary for Foreign Affairs. He held this position for the entire nine years of the Conservative government. In addition he has had the honors of being Parliamentary Secretary for International Human Rights and for International Development.
Being Canada’s longest-serving visible minority Member of Parliament as well as the Dean of the Conservative Party, Deepak is widely credited with sparking an interest and engaging ethnic and diverse communities across Canada to participate and join the political voice. Since his first election to Parliament in 1997 from the Reform Party and continuing till 2005, Deepak was the party’s main bridge-builder to Canada’s ethnic communities. During this time he crisscrossed the country engaging cultural communities and new Canadians and drawing them into the Conservative family.
This passion for engagement comes from his own story and experience early in life, when minorities where marginalized. “The reason why Institutional Discrimination existed was because many people did not think that it was important to participate in political engagement. I am here to ensure that this does not happen in our great country, Canada.” Deepak states passionately.
Deepak’s political motivation comes from the realization that the rights and freedoms that Canada’s minority communities enjoy today should never be taken for granted. “We have come a long way from the days when I entered politics. Institutional Discrimination is a fact of life for many Canadians, and we have to keep fighting for our rights and for the rights of our future generations.”
Highlighting his experience and stature as a diplomat for Canada, in 2013 Prime Minister Stephen Harper appointed Deepak to represent him and Canada at the 23rd Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting in Sri Lanka.
This was in addition to the many other international forums to which Deepak has led Canadian delegations to, including the UN Human Rights Council, the African Union Summit, the Pacific Islands Forum, the UN General Assembly, as an international elections observer to Myanmar, the United Nations Convention on Transnational Organized Crime, ASEAN Ministerial Meetings and Expanded Meeting of Neighbouring Countries of Iraq, to name a few.
Many others have recognized Deepak’s work and efforts. To name a few awards and recognitions bestowed upon him: Deepak is featured in an Alberta Grade 9 Social Studies textbook; Vietnamese Canadian Federation Award 2015 in recognition of his dedication to the Vietnamese Canadian Community; Universities Canada Special Recognition for his service and support for Canada’s higher education, research and innovation; named as one of 35 most influential Indo-Canadians in Canada, profiled in the book The Power List; an Outstanding Service Award given by the Filipino-Canadian Community of Calgary; and named by The Hill Times newspaper’s Power & Influence magazine as one of the top influencers of Canada’s global future. He was also awarded the prestigious Pravasi Barathiya Samman, the highest award given to overseas Indians, and the Pride of India Award.