Canadian Tory MP says he is a "strong supporter" of Sikhs as he helps them get visas
By Barfi Culture Team
4th March 2018

The Canadian MP Deepak Obhrai lashed out on social media over the weekend after being criticised over a motion on Sikh 'extremism'.

As Barfi Culture reported earlier, Canadian Conservatives were due to table a motion on Khalistan last week, which was widely criticised by Sikh groups and seen as a ploy to embarrass Justin Trudeau after his visit to India.

The motion was tabled by another MP but Deepak Obhrai was seen as its driving force. He told colleagues that while he was disappointed the motion was delayed, it was likely to return in a fortnight when the Canadian Parliament reconvenes.

Deepah Obhrai represents the riding of Calgary Forest Lawn for the Conservative Party and is its longest-serving MP. Last year he ran to be leader of the Conservatives but failed in his bid.

On Friday night he posted a message on his Facebook Page, now deleted without explanation, lashing out at his critics and warning he would sue anyone who accused him of being anti-Sikh.

He was a "strong supporter" of Sikhs he wrote, and cited a time when he had helped someone from a different riding to get a visa to India.

On Facebook he wrote (in full):

"I have come under attack from a few individuals from the Sikh community in reference to my stance on the unity of India and on the term genocide. It is very important to respect the difference of opinions and not go for personal attacks."

"I have been a strong supporter of the Sikh community and have always advocated for their success. The success of the Sikh community is a matter of success for Canada."

"My electoral success has been based on the support from all communities, including the Sikh community. My office is always open to all individuals, even if they don’t live in my riding. I point to the case of Harcharan S. Parhar who lives outside my riding, who came to my office seeking help to get an Indian visa, which I facilitated."

"As such, any person who attacks me on this issue of being anti-Sikh can expect legal action for defamation."

He got some support from readers but the response was largely negative.

Nijjer Kanwar wrote: "Hon Deepak ji is respected elected member of parliament. He had earned that respect There should be no bully tactics. One can ask logical question. Same respect should be given to our Prime Minister by opposition party."

But the Canadian Sikh Association (CSA) wrote in response: "Why is a Canadian Member of Parliament and his constituency office being used to secure a visa to a foreign country? I am sure the Integrity Commissioner of Canada, Mr. Joe Friday will be interested to know, as well as the Canadian public."

The MP was also criticised for deleting a previous post on his Facebook Page that contained many of the criticism he has received.

Another reader, Gurwinder Singh Dusanjh, wrote that Obhrai's case study had little to do with Sikhs but instead related to immigration issues.

He added: "I applaud you for helping your fellow brethren attain a foreign Visa. I, myself, have done the same for many of my neighbours as it’s the kind thing to do if they do not know how to navigate the Visa system. I fail to see how this is an example of “supporting the Sikh community” other than this individual just so happened to be of Sikh heritage."

Update: Deepak Obhrai MP deleted the post from his Facebook Page after this story was published.
This story has been updated to reflect that.

Get our weekly email on the desi diaspora
Barfi Culture is a (recently launched!) news magazine, covering South Asians living in Europe and North America.

»   Balanced news, informative opinions
»   Celebrating our cultures
»   A platform for people

We publish daily. Get our email or find us on social media (tw: news; fb: culture; insta: images).

Find out more | Tell us your story
Barfi Culture is a news-magazine on South Asians in Europe and North America.
(This is what makes us different)

Editorial Policy | Contact Us