Why Conservative MP Deepak Obhrai thinks he can lead the party back

One of the few Conservatives to have been more open about his criticism of their government’s use of identity politics in the past election:

Though he likes to point out the fact, Mr. Obhrai insists he’s not running for leader simply “because I am the longest serving Conservative member of Parliament,” having been first elected as a Reformer in 1997.

He’s running because he says he worked hard to open up the party – particularly to new Canadians and immigrants, much like himself.

And he blames the Conservatives’ 2015 election campaign with isolating those very groups it should have embraced.

“Many people felt excluded from this party,” he says. “I felt it was very necessary that I put my efforts back.”

Mr. Obhrai points to his party’s positions on the niqab, notably when former prime minister Stephen Harper said the Conservatives would look at banning public servants from wearing them, and the “barbaric cultural practices” tip line as proposals that lead to their election loss last October.

“Nobody bothered asking me whether it was right or wrong. I would have told them absolutely there and then it was wrong,” he says.

He is also highly critical of the Conservatives’ Bill C-24, which gave the government the power to revoke Canadian citizenship from dual citizens convicted of terrorism. Mr. Obhrai supported the bill’s advancement to committee, but abstained from a final vote. The Liberals have since introduced their own bill to repeal this provision.

“That turned out to be an advantage for the Liberals to attack us,” he says.

Source: Why Conservative MP Deepak Obhrai thinks he can lead the party back – The Globe and Mail

About Andrew
Andrew blogs and tweets public policy issues, particularly the relationship between the political and bureaucratic levels, citizenship and multiculturalism. His latest book, Policy Arrogance or Innocent Bias, recounts his experience as a senior public servant in this area.

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