From the very beginning, my voice has been ignored by the bulk of the media to the point that many people still do not even know I am running in the Conservative party leadership race. This in itself illustrates a growing lack of respect for anyone wishing to participate in our democracy, which should raise concern across the board.
Furthermore, I find it equally alarming that articles are being written about how the CPC has no one in the race that can reach out to the visible minority communities and bring them back. Even though I have been told I have no chance of winning, to be completely ignored is not only discriminatory in practice but it also sheds light on the growing prejudices in our country and media, and that should also be concerning.
Deepak Obhrai speaks at a Conservative Party of Canada leadership forum in Winnipeg, Thursday, Jan. 19, 2017. (Photo: John Woods/CP)
One would think that my standing in the race would actually be proof that the CPC hasn't actually lost the ethnic vote; one would also think that a 20+ years experienced immigrant standing in a leadership race (a first for any federal party) is something that Canadians would proudly jump on, and that Justin Trudeau would have a hard time playing his divisive politics game.
These are just a few of the realities that are being played out, and should not go unnoticed by Canadians.
But the real reason I am in this race is simple. My love for this country and for where I know the Conservative party needs to go outweighs my need for self-preservation.
You see, I am not here for myself.
I am here with the support of those who donated to my campaign to ensure that I uphold the voice of equality so that we do not, in fear, hurt the very laws that protect us; I am also standing on the many volunteers who want to unite their voices across Canada through me. They know that my 20+ years in building bridges and fighting for human rights abroad can only benefit the CPC and Canada, especially given everything that's happening abroad.
They also know that my voice shows that the CPC embraces everyone and provides the same opportunities to ALL Canadians. My standing on a national stage sends the message visibly, that this is a Party that has the potential to treat all Canadians as equals. My voice of experience shows that we have a chance of winning back those that left -- let's not kid ourselves: we lost the majority government because we also lost the minorities' votes.
To those that are saying they are bringing the minorities back into the party, here is a simple hint on how to successfully reach out: it is to know which so-called community leaders and groups have integrity, no scandals, racial undertones or display cheating behaviours. Not knowing whom to trust harms those very communities you profess to help. This comes with experience.
In addition, my voice has already made a difference in the race itself. Candidates are now mentioning "the big blue tent" in their pitch, and now understand that we need to have better language and outreach policies that are not exclusive or discriminatory.
Finally, I am here because I care about the future of the Conservative party and Canada, and I am exercising my right to participate in our democracy! Win or lose is not the point. My voice is valuable in this race. All you have to do is see the diverse names on my donor list and you will see that the minority voice is not lost, at least not yet!
Make no mistake, Canadians at large are paying attention to how my voice is being treated, and it will not go unnoticed!
They will let us know what they think in 2019.
I have always said that we started this race for a purpose, and that is to ensure that the voice of equality and reason does not get lost in the quest for populist promises.
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