Deepak Obhrai

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The Honourable
Deepak Obhrai
PC MP
Obhraistampede.jpg
Official Opposition Critic for International Development
In office
November 20, 2015 – July 12, 2016
Leader Rona Ambrose
Preceded by Hélène Laverdière
Succeeded by Dean Allison
Member of the Canadian Parliament
for Calgary Forest Lawn
Calgary East (1997-2015)
Assumed office
June 2, 1997
Preceded by Alex Kindy
Personal details
Born (1950-07-05) July 5, 1950 (age 66)
Oldeani, Tanzania
Political party Conservative
Spouse(s) Neena Obhrai
Residence Calgary, Alberta
Profession Businessman
Religion Hindu
Website www.deepakobhrai.com

Deepak Obhrai, PC MP (born July 5, 1950) is a Canadian politician, representing the riding of Calgary Forest Lawn for the Conservative Party of Canada. He formerly served as the Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Foreign Affairs.[1] He and Gerry Ritz are currently the longest continuously-serving Conservative MPs.[citation needed]

Political career[edit]

Obhrai was born in Oldeani, Tanganyika, now Tanzania, on July 5, 1950 to a Hindu family.[2][3] He immigrated to Canada in 1977.[3] Before entering politics, he was a businessman.[2] He was first elected in 1997 for the Reform Party of Canada, and was re-elected when the Reform Party became the Canadian Alliance in 2000. In 2004, 2006, 2008, 2011, and 2015 he was elected as a member of the Conservative Party of Canada. He was also one of four Alliance MPs who agreed to sit with the Progressive Conservative caucus after the December 9, 2003 creation of the merged Conservative Party. The Progressive Conservative and Canadian Alliance parliamentary caucuses were not officially merged until a few weeks later.

As an opposition member he served as the Opposition critic for International Cooperation, Multiculturalism, International Trade and of CIDA.

In February 2006, Prime Minister Stephen Harper appointed Obhrai as Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Foreign Affairs.[2] In March 2008, he was given the additional responsibility of Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of International Cooperation, a role he held until November 2008; he would hold the role again from November 2010 to January 2011.[2]

During the 2011 Canadian federal election, Obhrai chose not to appear in an all-candidates debate in his riding, citing that his time was better spent talking with constituents. He also said that he "does not wish to debate a Liberal from Toronto," a reference to Calgary East Liberal candidate Josipa Petrunic, who despite her employment by the University of Toronto, was born and raised in Calgary, which was also where she conducted her research.[4][5]

Following his victory in the 2011 election, he discovered that as a result of Gurbax Singh Malhi's defeat in Bramalea—Gore—Malton, he was now the longest serving remaining member of parliament who was of South Asian and/or African ancestry.[6] Obhrai penned a letter to the editor to the Calgary Herald.and to his supporters saying that: "In my birth country, Tanzania, I would henceforth be referred to by the respectful title of Mzee. In South Asia, I would receive the title of Pradhaan. This means I have now reached the ranks of respected elders."[6][7]

On September 19, 2013, Obhrai's role as Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Foreign Affairs was augmented when his role was expanded to include responsibility for international human rights.[2] He was appointed to the Queen's Privy Council for Canada by Governor General of Canada David Johnston on the advice of Stephen Harper.[citation needed]

In September 2014, Obhrai received the Pride of India Award from the Indo-American Friends Group of Washington DC and the Indo-American Business Chamber in a dinner ceremony held on Capitol Hill for his contributions towards strengthening Canada’s political, social and cultural relations with India and for his role in increasing Indian diaspora participation in pluralistic political activity.[8]

Obhrai is the longest-serving Conservative MP in Canada’s 42nd Parliament.[citation needed] Currently, he serves as the International Development Critic in the Shadow Cabinet of the Official Opposition.[citation needed]

Electoral results[edit]

Canadian federal election, 2015: Calgary Forest Lawn
Party Candidate Votes % ∆% Expenditures
Conservative Deepak Obhrai 19,694 47.98 –15.37
Liberal Cam Stewart 14,762 35.96 +18.50
New Democratic Adbou Souraya 4,006 9.76 –3.39
Green Judson Hansell 1,229 2.99 –2.31
Libertarian Matt Badura 832 2.03
Communist Jason Devine 390 0.95
Democratic Advancement Max Veress 134 0.33
Total valid votes/Expense limit 41,047 100.00   $206,437.77
Total rejected ballots 345 0.83
Turnout 41,392 55.47
Eligible voters 74,620
Conservative hold Swing –16.93
Source: Elections Canada[9][10]


Canadian federal election, 2011: Calgary East
Party Candidate Votes % ∆% Expenditures
Conservative Deepak Obhrai 23,372 67.43% +0.96%
New Democratic Al Brown 4,894 14.12% +2.37%
Liberal Josipa Petrunic 4,102 11.83% +1.68%
Green Scott Milton 2,047 5.91% -4.70%
Communist Jason Devine 246 0.71% -0.30%
Total valid votes/Expense limit 34,661 100.00%
Total rejected ballots
Turnout  %


Canadian federal election, 2008: Calgary East
Party Candidate Votes % ∆% Expenditures
Conservative Deepak Obhrai 21,311 66.47% -0.63% $77,330
New Democratic Ian Vaughan 3,768 11.75% +0.88% $831
Green Nathan Coates 3,403 10.61% +3.20% $2,722
Liberal Bernie Kennedy 3,255 10.15% -2.95% $6,934
Communist Jason Devine 323 1.01% +0.41% $417
Total valid votes/Expense limit 32,060 100.00% $83,826
Total rejected ballots
Turnout  %
Conservative hold Swing -0.8


Canadian federal election, 2006: Calgary East
Party Candidate Votes % ∆% Expenditures
Conservative Deepak Obhrai 26,766 67.10% +5.99% $79,928
Liberal Dobie To 5,410 13.56% -7.71%
New Democratic Patrick Arnell 4,338 10.87% +1.01% $2,762
Green J. Mark Taylor 2,955 7.41% +0.36% $1,910
Communist Jason Devine 239 0.60% -0.08% $279
Canadian Action Ghazanfar Khan 183 0.46% $99
Total valid votes 39,890 100.00%
Total rejected ballots 181 0.45%
Turnout 40,071 50.45%


Canadian federal election, 2004: Calgary East
Party Candidate Votes % ∆% Expenditures
Conservative Deepak Obhrai 21,897 61.11% -9.61% $55,864
Liberal James Maxim 7,621 21.27% +0.81% $50,725
New Democratic Elizabeth Thomas 3,535 9.86% +5.55% $5,211
Green Dean Kenneth Christie 2,529 7.05% $1,526
Communist Jason Devine 245 0.68% +0.14% $750
Total valid votes 35,827 100.00%
Total rejected ballots 207 0.57%
Turnout 36,034 47.79%


Note: Conservative vote is compared to total of Canadian Alliance and Progressive Conservative vote in 2000.

Canadian federal election, 2000: Calgary East
Party Candidate Votes % ∆% Expenditures
Alliance Deepak Obhrai 18,141 54.25% +9.27% $50,082
Liberal Doug Perras 6,843 20.46% -2.34% $13,817
Progressive Conservative Roger Richard 5,510 16.47% -8.15% $26,576
New Democratic Kaie Jones 1,444 4.31% -2.18% $4,528
Marijuana Grant Adam Krieger 1,222 3.65% $1,331
Communist Jason Devine 152 0.54% $415
Natural Law Neeraj Varma 124 0.37% -0.73%
Total valid votes 33,436 100.00%
Total rejected ballots 118 0.35%
Turnout 33,554 48.19%


Note: Canadian Alliance vote is compared to Reform vote in 1997.

Canadian federal election, 1997: Calgary East
Party Candidate Votes % ∆% Expenditures
Reform Deepak Obhrai 13,348 44.98% $47,624
Progressive Conservative Roger Richard 7,306 24.62% -34.23% $40,312
Liberal Nagah Hage 6,766 22.80% -0.77% $20,633
New Democratic Kaie Jones 1,926 6.49% -7.19% $6,993
Natural Law Santo Esposito 329 1.10%
Total valid votes 29,675 100.00%
Total rejected ballots 175 0.59%
Turnout 29,850 47.88%

References[edit]

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