|Official Opposition Critic for International Development|
November 20, 2015 – July 12, 2016
|Preceded by||Hélène Laverdière|
|Succeeded by||Dean Allison|
|Member of the Canadian Parliament
for Calgary Forest Lawn
Calgary East (1997-2015)
June 2, 1997
|Preceded by||Alex Kindy|
July 5, 1950 |
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. He and Gerry Ritz are currently the longest continuously-serving Conservative MPs.
Obhrai was born in Oldeani, Tanganyika, now Tanzania, on July 5, 1950 to a Hindu family. He immigrated to Canada in 1977. Before entering politics, he was a businessman. 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. 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.
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.
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. 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."
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. He was appointed to the Queen's Privy Council for Canada by Governor General of Canada David Johnston on the advice of Stephen Harper.
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.
Obhrai is the longest-serving Conservative MP in Canada’s 42nd Parliament. Currently, he serves as the International Development Critic in the Shadow Cabinet of the Official Opposition.
|Canadian federal election, 2015: Calgary Forest Lawn|
|New Democratic||Adbou Souraya||4,006||9.76||–3.39||–|
|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||–|
|Source: Elections Canada|
|Canadian federal election, 2011: Calgary East|
|New Democratic||Al Brown||4,894||14.12%||+2.37%|
|Total valid votes/Expense limit||34,661||100.00%|
|Total rejected ballots||–||–||–|
|Canadian federal election, 2008: Calgary East|
|New Democratic||Ian Vaughan||3,768||11.75%||+0.88%||$831|
|Total valid votes/Expense limit||32,060||100.00%||$83,826|
|Total rejected ballots||–||–|
|Canadian federal election, 2006: Calgary East|
|New Democratic||Patrick Arnell||4,338||10.87%||+1.01%||$2,762|
|Green||J. Mark Taylor||2,955||7.41%||+0.36%||$1,910|
|Canadian Action||Ghazanfar Khan||183||0.46%||–||$99|
|Total valid votes||39,890||100.00%|
|Total rejected ballots||181||0.45%|
|Canadian federal election, 2004: Calgary East|
|New Democratic||Elizabeth Thomas||3,535||9.86%||+5.55%||$5,211|
|Green||Dean Kenneth Christie||2,529||7.05%||–||$1,526|
|Total valid votes||35,827||100.00%|
|Total rejected ballots||207||0.57%|
Note: Conservative vote is compared to total of Canadian Alliance and Progressive Conservative vote in 2000.
|Canadian federal election, 2000: Calgary East|
|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|
|Natural Law||Neeraj Varma||124||0.37%||-0.73%|
|Total valid votes||33,436||100.00%|
|Total rejected ballots||118||0.35%|
Note: Canadian Alliance vote is compared to Reform vote in 1997.
|Canadian federal election, 1997: Calgary East|
|Progressive Conservative||Roger Richard||7,306||24.62%||-34.23%||$40,312|
|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%|
- Foreign Affairs and International Trade Canada Website.
- "OBHRAI, The Hon. Deepak, P.C.". Library of Parliament. Retrieved August 3, 2016.
- Naumetz, Tim (November 10, 2016). "Obhrai received emails telling him to 'leave Canada' after Leitch released immigration plan". The Hill Times. Retrieved November 11, 2016.
- Fekete, Jason (April 20, 2011). "Obhrai criticized as Tory incumbents avoid Calgary election debates". Calgary Herald. Retrieved August 3, 2016.
- Cone of silence tightens on Tories
- Taber, Jane (May 19, 2011). "Deepak Obhrai, the peacock of South Asian MPs". The Globe and Mail. Retrieved July 3, 2016.
- Obhrai, Deepak (May 19, 2011). "Deepak the elder". Calgary Herald. Retrieved August 3, 2016.
- "Deepak Obhrai awarded Pride of India Award for fostering Indo-Canadian relations | Indo-Canadian Voice Newspaper". www.voiceonline.com. Retrieved 2016-08-04.
- "October 19, 2015 Election Results — Calgary Forest Lawn (Validated results)". Elections Canada. 20 October 2015. Retrieved 4 November 2015.
- Elections Canada – Preliminary Election Expenses Limits for Candidates