Member of Parliament
EMBA 2017, Ivey Business School
Describe your most recent role.
I was elected as a Member of Parliament to the House of Commons in 2008 and re-elected in 2011. I served as a member and Acting Chair of the House of Commons Standing Committee on Health, Chair of the Sub-Committee on Neurological Disorders, and member of the Standing committees on Citizenship and Immigration, and Canadian Heritage. I introduced Private Member’s Bill 442: An Act to establish a National Holocaust Monument, which was passed unanimously and received Royal Assent on March 25, 2011. The monument will be completed in the spring of 2017.
In 2011 I was appointed by Prime Minister Stephen Harper to serve in cabinet. It was a great honour to be the first turbaned Sikh to be appointed to any government cabinet outside of India.
As the Minister of State for Democratic Reform I introduced three pieces of legislation in The House of Commons:
- An Act to amend the Constitution Act, 1867, the Electoral Boundaries Readjustment Act and the Canada Elections Act - became law
- An Act to amend the Canada Elections Act (accountability with respect to political loans) – became law
- An Act respecting the selection of senators and amending the Constitution Act, 1867 in respect of Senate term limits – did not become law
As the Minister of State for Multiculturalism I oversaw Canada’s Multiculturalism programs and policy direction and travelled across the country to meet many Canadians of different cultures and faiths to consult on federal government related matters. Through this consultation, it was our aim to ensure Canadians of all backgrounds had a voice in the government.
Since leaving public office I have worked with a low-cost internet company in Nigeria as well as a private equity fund, in addition to helping with Jason Kenney’s PC leadership race in Alberta and serving as a senior advisor for the Kevin O’Leary Conservative Leadership Campaign.
What is the most challenging aspect of your job?
With three young children at home and my wife being a Department of Justice lawyer, balancing work and family is the most challenging aspect of my job. The travel and time commitments significantly take away from valuable family time. Having a very supportive family and actually scheduling time to spend with family is important.
What is your biggest professional accomplishment?
- Prime Minister of Israel, Benjamin Netanyahu
- Meeting on the BDS movement, Antisemitism, Canada’s support for Israel
- Prime Ministers of India, Narendra Modi and Manmohan Singh
- Meeting on investment concerns from Canadian businesses, foreign land owner rights, visitor and business VISAS
- President of Ukraine, Petro Poroshenko
- Meeting on Canada’s support for Ukraine and building a stronger economic relationship
- President of France, François Hollande
- Meeting on freedom of religion and accommodation in France
- His Holiness the Aga Khan, spiritual leader of Ismaili Muslims
- Meeting on the Global Centre for Pluralism, Museum of Islamic Art
- His Holiness the Dalai Lama of Tibet
- Meeting on Tibet refugee program, Tibetan youth integration in Canada, Multiculturalism in Canada
- His Holiness Mirza Masroor Ahmad Khalifa of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community
- Meeting on Ahmadiyya community achievements in Canada, freedom of religion in Pakistan
- Former UK PM Tony Blair
- Meeting on rising religious extremism in North America and Europe
What books are on your bedside table right now?
Most of my reading time is spent on course reading, but in anticipation for my upcoming trip to China I recently read Alibaba: The House That Jack Ma Built.
How do you manage stress (i.e. sports, exercise, meditation)?
I enjoy playing with the kids outside, barbequing, and some kickboxing for exercise.
What is the most significant thing you’ve learned at Ivey?
I’ve really learned that there is much more to managing business than just the numbers. Management style and leadership ability can be the difference between a very successful business and a complete failure.
What’s been the most surprising aspect of the Executive MBA journey to date?
I didn’t expect the case study method to be so effective. Most of the cases are very interesting and help to relate the course material to real life business decisions and scenarios. Working with a learning team has been tremendous. Reviewing the cases with your team helps you to understand the material better. The diverse make-up of the class allows for great discussions and brings different professional perspectives.