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Navdeep Bains, 27, youngest newcomers to Parliament- Putting a new face on Canada

Mississauga-Brampton South MP hopes to bridge cultures
Government `needs to deliver' on health care, cities, he says

Toronto, Sep 20, 2004
The Tornto Star

This is the seventh in a weekly series on the newly elected MPs from the GTA.

At 27, Navdeep Bains already has a lot of letters after his name: MBA, CA and now MP.

Still, he knows the first thing some people see when they look at him is his turban. That's not altogether a bad thing, says the former Ford Motor financial analyst, who was born in Toronto and raised in Brampton.

It makes him a good bridge between the Indian and non-Indian communities that dominate his riding of Mississauga-Brampton South, which he swept for the Liberals in June.

"I'm a Sikh by faith, an Indian by background and a Canadian by birth, and I'm going to represent Canada through and through," he says.

Bains admits he's experienced racism but has mostly chosen to overlook rude treatment in stores and restaurants. It isn't central to his vision of Brampton or Canada. For Bains, the future that fuelled his immigrant parents' dreams has arrived.

"I never think of myself as a second-class citizen. It's Canadian first," he says. "I know that Canada now is no longer defined by a specific, prototype look. It's a lot of different looks."

He also knows his experience isn't necessarily typical. His English doesn't have an Indian accent and in his riding he's part of the majority. Fifty-three per cent of his constituents are visible minorities.

Many of the issues on the federal stage have personal significance for Bains' constituents, particularly immigration policies and national security.

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