Growing up Sikh in Canada, Navdeep Bains knew he looked different than most of his peers. So in his mind, he had two choices: “When I go into a room, I get a little bit of attention. Either I take advantage of that attention and do something good, or I shy away from it.”
Bains came from humble beginnings, born in Brampton, Ont. to Sikh immigrants. Twenty-six years later, after completing a master’s in business administration and receiving his Certified Management Accounting designation, Bains entered federal politics. When he won his riding in the 2004 federal election, he became the youngest Liberal MP in cabinet.
Although he lost the 2011 election, he rallied in 2015, winning his seat and a spot in Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s cabinet.
READ MORE: Ottawa ready to invest in Bombardier, says Bains
“I think being a Sikh, at least on a personal level, has opened a lot of doors for me,” he told The West Block’s Tom Clark during a Plane Talk segment. “My grandparents raised me, taught me a lot about my faith, taught me a lot about my identity. I think that created a lot of confidence, which enabled me to do well in school, which now has enabled me to do well in politics, but also in sports as well.”
His love of sports, particularly playing basketball, comes second to his work and family – but it was the first topic of conversation in March when he met U.S. President Barack Obama, an avid Chicago Bulls fan; a story he casually brought up while flying high above the National Capital Region.
- Inside the navy’s search for war grave robbers in the South China Sea
- Air Canada says expect flight delays, cancellations as it fixes technical issue
- What is parliamentary privilege? A closer look at O’Toole’s CSIS revelations
- Bill 96: Here’s what to expect when trying to access English services in Quebec
READ MORE: Feds getting ‘pushback’ on immigration from Canadians, minister says
“When I went to the U.S. and had the chance to meet the American president … the only thing I talked to the president about was sports and basketball,” Bains said. “I put down the Chicago Bulls and picked up our Toronto Raptors.”
Despite his casual tone, the singularity of the experience is not lost on Bains.