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