(The following text was provided by the candidate or campaign.)
Deepak Obhrai was born in Tanzania and attended school in three separate continents: in Tanzania, India and the United Kingdom. He graduated as an Air Traffic Controller in the UK and worked at several airports in East Africa. After immigrating to Canada in 1977, Deepak worked in the accounting department for the City of Calgary before becoming self-employed. He and his wife Neena became owners of a chain of dry-cleaning stores and also formed a company to explore joint venture opportunities in overseas markets.
In Canada, Deepak became heavily involved in his community, acting as President of the India – Canada Association, Monterey Community Association and the Hindu Society of Calgary. He was also Vice-President of the National Indo-Canadian Council.
In 1997, Deepak was first elected as the Member of Parliament for Calgary East from the Reform Party. Subsequently he played key roles in the Canadian Reform Conservative Alliance, the Progressive Conservative Party and in the making of the new Conservative Party of Canada, during which time he was a strong supporter of Stephen Harper’s leadership campaign. Deepak was re-elected to Parliament in 2000, 2004 and 2006; successively receiving a larger percentage of the popular vote. In the most recent election held in October 2008, Deepak was re-elected with 66.5% of the votes.
When the Conservatives formed the government in January 2006, Prime Minister Stephen Harper appointed Deepak as Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Foreign Affairs. In March 2008, Deepak was vested with the additional responsibility of Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of International Cooperation.
In the current Parliament, Deepak serves as Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Foreign Affairs. He remains a member of the Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs and International Development and a member of the Special Committee on Afghanistan.
Deepak was the founder president of the Canada-India Parliamentary Friendship Group, which today enjoys a large membership of MPs and Senators from all political parties. Through this group, Deepak initiated many activities leading to further strengthening of Canada’s relations with India. For the past nine years, Deepak has also hosted the annual Diwali celebration on Parliament Hill, which has today blossomed into Canada’s national Diwali celebration.
Deepak remains committed to ensuring that the voices of Canada’s multicultural communities are heard in Ottawa. In this capacity, he has traveled extensively across Canada and built a wide spectrum of support for Canada’s New Conservative Government.
In January 2009, the Government of India recognized Deepak for his contribution in strengthening Canada-India relations by awarding him the prestigious Pravasi Bharatiya Samman award, which is the highest honour given to overseas Indians. In 2008, India Abroad newspaper named Deepak as one of 35 most influential Indo-Canadians in Canada.
Closer to home, In 2006, in recognition of his contributions to the Indo-Canadian community and the positive role he has played over the past 25 years in strengthening ties between Canada and South Asia, Deepak was honoured with two awards; one from the Indo-Canada Chamber of Commerce Ottawa Business Council and one from the National Indo-Canadian Council. In December 2006, Deepak's former school, Daly College in Indore, India, awarded him the prestigious Padma Shri RN Zutshi Medal for outstanding achievement by an Old Dalian.
Deepak Obhrai and his wife, Neena, have two daughters: Priti and Kaajal, a son: Aman, son-in-law: Robin Martin and a grand-son: Davin Jacob and granddaughter: Evasha.