Conservative MP slams Tories for becoming an 'elitist, white-only club'
New party rules discriminate against immigrants, low-income Canadians and minorities, says Deepak Obhrai
Longtime Calgary MP Deepak Obhrai is publicly denouncing his own party for turning into an "elitist, white-only club."
Obhrai says the Tories have adopted new rules that financially discriminate against minorities, young Canadians, low-income Canadians and people with disabilities.
These include the party's $100,000 registration fee for leadership race contenders, as well as an increased party membership fee of $25 per person — the highest of any of the major federal parties.
The figure is not modest, Obhrai said, and will stop "hundreds and hundreds of thousands of Canadians from joining the party."
"Established conservatives with established families who have very strong conservative principles will remain as members and are willing to cough up the big money," he said.
"Ultimately, that will turn into what I will say a white people's club."
Pushing for new Tory leadership
Obhrai, who was first elected in 1997 as a member of the Reform Party, said he has devoted much of his political career to breaking the stigma of ethnic discrimination that has hounded the Tories.
"Preston Manning asked that I go out and bring the ethnic communities and new Canadians into the party. For the next 18 years, I worked on that," he said.
Obhrai said his "purpose" was to integrate new immigrants into the party ranks, and he said the party's success on that front is what propelled the Tories to majority government status in 2011.
Obhrai said he has raised the issue loudly in caucus, but to no avail.
His hope is that by using these "pretty loaded words," he will persuade his colleagues to elect a new leader, council and president who will steer the party in a more inclusive direction when the Tories gather for their convention in May.
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