In this episode, our guest is Deepak Anand, who is the Progressive Conservative Member of Provincial Parliament for Mississauga Malton. He is the special advisor to the Ministry of Economic Development, Job Creation and Trade with Minister Fedeli with a focus on trade relations between India and Ontario. He has an undergraduate degree in Chemical Engineering and an MBA at the Schulich School of Business.
Chris Caputo 00:11
This is periodically political brought to you by elect stem, we bring you stories of where politics intersects science. My name is Chris Caputo, and I'll be your co host today along with Darren Anderson.
Darren Anderson 00:29
We'd like to welcome our guest today, Deepak Anand. He is the member of the provincial Parliament for Mississauga Malton and his special advisor to the Ministry of Economic Development, Job Creation and Trade with Minister Fedeli with a focus on trade relations between India and Ontario. MPP Anand is also the chair of the Standing Committee on regulations and private bills and a member of the Standing Committee on Public Accounts, his priorities as an MPP, are youth empowerment, local employment, Public Housing and Community Engagement, with an aim to be active, inspired and motivated to bring about positive change to the area. He has always participated in volunteering programs and community initiatives. He is an undergraduate in chemical engineering and studied an MBA at the Schulich School of Business. He has put his entrepreneurial skills to good use for residents of his riding, as he is the founder of meaningful media, an organization that brings light to different charities. He is also the producer and host for a radio show that discuss local issues, and provided exposure to different local organizations working for the betterment of the community. Welcome to periodically political Deepak.
Deepak Anand 01:37
Thank you so much, Darren. And thank you, Chris. And first of all, I want to commend the amount of research I don't even know what you know about me. Thank you for that I, I was reluctant to ask, what if you have, if you can spare some time, I would love to have your research working with me, for me. But again, thank you so much. I mean, I can't tell you how excited I am to be talking directly to you. And, you know, I was looking over when I was talking to you off the air, you talking about STEM talking about this, you know, the engineering community, the science community coming together. And, again, thank you so much. Let's begin the show.
Chris Caputo 02:24
Awesome. Yeah, it's our pleasure to have you and as you noted at elect stem, we seek stories of scientists and engineers who have made the leap to policy and politics. So our first question to you is really about your origin story. So why did you decide to get involved in politics at the first, the first time?
Deepak Anand 02:45
Chris, I will tell you, I am a first generation immigrant, I came to Canada in 2000. And when I came here, I had a still till date, I don't even have my 10th cousin here. So I came with me alone, and then followed by my wife, and then my son was at that time, five months old when I came here. And when he came, he was nine months old. So I'll tell you, I can't thank enough Canada, I cannot. The place is full of opportunity. The people, people are the great asset that we have here. One thing I quickly found out that you know, there are a lot of people come forward to help every time somebody helps you, you gain something. And every time you get something, you always want to give more back what you got. So I The reason I decided to get into politics, there are multiple reasons. One of the reason was, I was at Schulich School of Business, I engaged with some of the courses in sustainability, sustainable value creation, giving back to the community. And you know, when use the word giving back to the community, it's like an addiction to be honest with you. When you when you involve in charity work or in a good worker community or when you do something, and when you do something, somebody is going to come up to you and to say thank you. And you really feel within yourself. It's there's always a kid inside us, which loves this appreciation. When you see that, oh my goodness, he came to thank me. I want to do more of it so that I can get more thank yous. So that was one reason I got involved with the there was a couple of charities I got involved in Mississauga and Brampton one each. And so what I noticed was actually all board members were so passionate about giving back to the community. So there will always be something or the other, they will come to a standstill where they will say oh, we need to get this changed because this policy would help us to give more back to the community on they will say I wish we can talk to the MP or MPP and we can ask for more funding. Whether it's a policy matter whether it's some money. So we were going back to these politicians, and I felt, you know, internally, I love, I love what I'm doing. And I love and enjoy getting these thank yous. But what if I can join the politics, then I don't need to go find those people, maybe I can be that person where I can support these kinds of causes. So that was another reason. And as I said, the biggest reason, I think, I believe it was that I enjoy helping, and you will see that you will hear that from most of the politicians by the way, that you know, we enjoy helping money. And we felt that as we were helping, we could do more if we join politics. And I think that was another big reason to give back to those who gave me everything in this country.
Chris Caputo 05:54
Yeah, that's great to hear that, that it's so important to give back and it's so inspiring, and correct me if I'm wrong, but was the 2018 campaign, your first campaign?
Deepak Anand 06:06
That is right, that was my first campaign, yes.
Chris Caputo 06:11
So following up on that, could you walk us through what running was like, for a first time candidate? Tell us about the nomination process, and you know, how the party helped you out in the general election?
Deepak Anand 06:25
So um, so first of all, I'll tell you one thing, I mean, you know, when you new and you want to get into the politics or anything, in fact, I mean, I always compare it with sports analogies, if you think of, let's put it this way, if you think of somebody who's got a gold medal product and, and is, now has some credibility, but do you think that person on day one had that credibility, no, to work hard, you have to work your way up. And then initially, you will see a resistance, people will not like to come with you, because they believe sometimes they believe it's a waste of time. So I'm no different. I, when I started my journey in the politics, I still remember a lot of people will think or wasting my time, and they were reluctant to support me helped me, even though they agreed principle for many things. So getting that support in the initial stage was difficult. And I want to say one thing for sure. I mean, I'm going to ask me at some point of time, any advice to the budding politician, so I can tell you, the biggest support, or the hope you have is the end of your own arms, family. So I was, thank God, my family was extremely supportive. My wife, I can't tell you how much time she has spent my daughter, she was. She was pretty young at that time, but she had the record of making most number of phone calls and bringing most number of lawn signs, though, again, I think first and foremost is where it was running as a first time candidate, difficult, extremely difficult, in terms of people making sure that they believe in you. But you all start with the family. And if the family is supportive, then it's slowly and steadily people see, you know, when this they see this coming up with helping you so they come and help you as well. So that and the team grows as the team grows, you also feel more confident. And once you feel more confident. So it's kind of a vicious cycle. So I think it was difficult at the beginning, but I would I would tell you, I mean, this was the most, this was the best time of my life, a lot of fun, a lot of fun, a lot of excitement.
Darren Anderson 08:49
So were you concerned or worried about running for the first time? I mean, we talked to a lot of scientists and engineers that I've been curious about politics have considered running, but are just very intimidated by it. They're really they're concerned about it, they're worried about door knocking, or they don't know how to raise money. I assume you had a lot of those similar kinds of concerns going in. I mean, other than obviously, the support of your family, you know, how did how did you get yourself ready to take the leap and decide to run?
Deepak Anand 09:21
Absolutely Darren. And I mean, one of the biggest challenge with most of the people is in the politics is nothing but a toggle switch to practically means either you're going to win or you're not going to win in between. I mean, it's an example if I put I do remember, before the nomination, I physically met 800 families in eight months. time I spent, I mean my wife spent we both spent on this. So let's say let's assume it I would not have won the nomination. So those and I want to I want to say this directly to you. I won't say it would have been waste because I met At least I built a big family together. But if you if you don't consider that into an account, unfortunately, then the biggest challenge would have been with all these costs with tangible benefit. And that's what a lot of people, they think that, okay, we'll put this all effort, we'll put this all energy, we'll put this money. And what if we don't win? Is it worth it?
Darren Anderson 10:28
Well, I'd actually like to dig into that a little bit more. So, you know, how, how do you think it would have? How would you have thought about it if you had if you had not won? If you had lost? Would you have felt that the investment in time and money was worth it and something that you were so glad you would have done?
Deepak Anand 10:46
So I'll tell you the reality. I mean, my wife and I never even thought at any point of time we were losing, because we always felt, we don't have time to even think that we're going to lose it. Because all the second that we have we want to spend on saying that we're going to win it, how can we win it? And if you have time, we'd rather spend that time on putting more effort that we don't have to feel bad. I think the best answer to that is that we would have been devastated. Absolutely. The answer is yes. We would have felt bad. Absolutely. We would have been crying for a few days. 100%. But I think I would call it as a complete loss. I would think that the family that I built the relationship, I built they would have been valuable part of my life still. So I don't call it as a complete loss. But yes, you're absolutely right. I mean, I we used to really think about our winning or losing, because there was no time to think. But I if I would have to look back today, I would rather say yeah, I mean, it is with all the costs, what is the benefit? So that definitely is a barrier.
Darren Anderson 11:51
Chris Caputo 11:53
Focusing on a bit of your engineering training, to start, how has that actually influenced, you know, your success now that you've been elected, you know, taking that stem background and applying it towards politics?
Deepak Anand 12:08
I'll tell you, Chris, the biggest benefit I felt I had was because of my background in process improvement and process engineering. That the election process, I felt it to the project first. And then I divided that project into the pieces for me. We started talking about the nomination, which was the which was the biggest part of our any political process, by the way. And actually, for somebody who's new. So what we did was we looked at the nomination process. So we put everything together what who are the stakeholders? And what are their contributions? What are the restrictions, what could be potential go wrong. And then we looked at the data, we looked at how many people because the candidate I was running against, was very influential, and had some data in the past for. So this could is this person, which I ran against his father was a candidate. And we noticed that his father got an example of 740 votes in the nomination. And we felt it is his son this time. So he's going to work extra. So we added 10% to that. And then we looked at say, Okay, listen, the party influential has been in a party for longest time. So it's going to be, you know, it's kind of subtle, I mean, he's probably sway away some of the things. So we added for everything. And then we came up to a number, where we felt, okay, if I can get that number of votes, then I'm confident, then I'll be able to win. And then we don't want to stop there. And then we looked at the data I've seen example, I'll give you Chris for an example. In case of a nomination, if you go reach out to three people, and all three are so close to you. But the not the day of the nomination, which is going to happen only for like maybe two to four hours. We especially in our case, it was in the middle of a winter. So it was snowing on that day. So typically, even if you think there is you know, three people out of those, only one is going to show up on the day of nomination. So we put together this data, and we put together the add ons do you call it as a buffer, you call it as a safety cushion. And you came up to an ID and a number and you said, Okay, if I can get this number, I think I'll be able to win, but then this, you have to multiply it by three. So what I did was so laid out in order for me to win this nomination, I need to have X number of votes and three times X number of people I should know. And that's exactly what I did. And I knew that the nomination is going to be in about nine and a half 10 months. So I didn't want to wait to the last minute so I took I considered that as a eight month period. And then I divided that with eight months and by doing this I feel And out my whole project. So I think I think being in process improvement being an engineering background bring from a Schulich graduate, that was the key advantage that I have that I could lay it out as a project. And that was one of the biggest reason I think I was able to, to win the nomination.
Chris Caputo 15:19
That's amazing. And just how you break that down, like to that scientific model, and use it to your advantage that that's awesome to hear. And now that you're that you've won the election, you're now a member of provincial parliament, going beyond like, how do you hear about the scientific issues that are being discussed in caucus.
Deepak Anand 15:43
So it's no different it's, you know, if you ever have to consider it into the politics, politics after you won the election, I mean, it's, of course, you in the beginning, you're a sole performance, you're like an athlete, you're running, and then it becomes a relay. Because there's a lot of other running with you. And when you get elected, then it's more like a team sports. In order to win in order to run the whole team have to work together. So typically, every week we have a caucus meetings. in that meeting, we discuss what's going to happen in next week, and plus what is going to happen in the next couple of months. So we always are updated. And daily, we get updates from the each ministry who serve is thinking of doing anything, saying that this is what we're proposing to do. If you have an interest, please let us know. If you have expertise experience, or the qualification, we'll be happy to hear from you. And that's how we typically do is that we will reach out to that ministry are usually a minister and we say yeah, this is something I'm passionate about. And I would like to contribute. And that's how the process starts.
Darren Anderson 16:46
Oh, this is really interesting insight. So just following along that question about the impact in caucus. So we know that STEM professionals are underrepresented as elected officials compared to stem training in the general population. Do you have any ideas for how we can get more stem elected officials, more folks with STEM backgrounds engaged into politics, what kind of barriers they might be facing, and how we might be able to better support folks with a stem background that are interested in running for public office?
Deepak Anand 17:23
So Darren, and Chris, I'm gonna tell you one thing, this is my opinion, and you should not be taking it as that's written in stone, I feel many times. You know, whenever we are independent, we like to run alone. And whenever we are dependent on each other, we like to make a group. And in generic, I mean, way, if you look at it, and most of the STEM professionals are financially, well to do so what happens is they have less requirements, most of the time to be in a group. So what happens is just because of the way we've been brought up, we have been raised, we have the degrees and we have the jobs, and we have a decent wealth to sustain a good family life. So what happens is, we kind of feel that we Why do I need Why do I care? And I will not be surprised. I don't know the data. But I will not be surprised if most of the stem profession don't even go out and vote. Because they think what the heck, why would I need to vote for this guy? I don't even meet him. I'm never gonna meet him. I don't need him. Why would I vote? So I think what we need to do is if really want to see the change, the change has to start from the beginning from the grassroot. The first thing we should promote is that tell everybody, listen, it's not even if it's not gonna change it in a, in a micro level, or at a macro level, this is it is a change. So if we want to make a change, we want to bring those more people from stem background into politics. I think what we need to do is to advocate first, to ask these folks in the stem to go and vote because that's a big thing. When you're going to vote, you're going to ask yourself, who should I vote? And many times don't think that, okay, always, I always tell everybody compare what is available. Don't think that you need an ideal candidate and then only going to vote it. Because that's how we want to have vicious cycle. So whatever is available within your, you know, costs and benefits and the consequences, the caliber they have the policies they have, how well they can represent. Once we can bring more people from the stem background start voting, you will see the interest because then they will see, listen, look, I voted for this guy. That's how I got elected. That then you follow up and say, You know what, ah, I don't think he's doing what I want. What I wanted him to do, but why don't I try to do now, but if he's going to stay out, you're never going to go in. You're never going to get To the politics and you're never going to run. So my advice to you would be the first change. What we need today is don't think that it does not impact me because no matter what you said, you like it, or you don't like it, politicians and politics does have an impact on office. So let's start voting first.
Darren Anderson 20:22
That that's great insight. And I know one of the things when I first started getting more involved in political issues, I know one of the things that I was really pleasantly surprised by was how accessible my MPP or my MP was going in via their constituency office to have a discussion with them about issues that touched on science. And, you know, I think that's something that that a lot of people that are interested in, in science, and the intersection between science and politics, but haven't engaged, don't really necessarily understand, you know, obviously, you've got a very active constituency office, maybe just comment quickly on, you know, how you engage with your constituents and how folks could potentially engage if there's an issue that they think that they'd like to have a discussion about, with their elected officials, just kind of what that looks like.
Deepak Anand 21:12
Listen, we are human beings, we want to hear from you, we want to take your advice, we want to get out of your wealth of experience and knowledge that So absolutely, I mean, you know, my rule has been very simple. If you come, I can come to you. So, we do a lot of these engagements, a lot of these programs is for this specific reason, every possible way, I firmly believe, you know, I might a typical job by my life, if he talks about, I compare it with the performance athlete, nope, saturate can work and perform for a long, long time. limited life. So as a politician, I also think that we also have a limited life, whether it is years, eight years, or 12 years, whatever it could be, usually comes in a batch of full. So you know, I want to make sure that I could do as much as possible. And that is only possible if you, if I come in to step and you come to step, maybe we can do this way we can achieve four steps rather than you waiting for me to come to you, which will be four steps might take a bit longer. So again, I think through you, I would suggest and advise everybody is that if you have something that you're passionate about, you think that that can bring a change, you don't have to be an MPP, you can start by meeting your MPP, you can start by communicating talking to the to the elected officials. And that's how you can bring a change. And you know what, you never know, you might like it, you might love it. And then you might start getting thank yous, and then you want to get more things you want to contribute more, or maybe at some point of time, you want to run for the office. But accessibility is always there. Yeah,
Darren Anderson 22:56
That's excellent. And just to follow on that, I mean, you mentioned about, you know, being passionate about, about what you're involved in, and why folks might want to get involved in, in politics or in policy. At this point, I'd like to turn it around a little bit for you. Is there something you're working on or excited about today that you'd like to highlight to our listeners?
Deepak Anand 23:19
Well, um, the things that I'm working on is I'm always look, I always look for things wherein I can give back to the community and I can help somebody I mean, some of the things which I have recently done is, I looked at the problem, and I'll tell you the power, it started this way, one of the, one of the gas station owners in my writing came, and he was very upset. He said, I have a small business. And I'm always worried about my employees. I'm always throughput my client. And so what happened, he said, there is few people that always come and they usually have a stolen vehicles or change their license plate. And they know the purposely they come they fill up a gas, they won't pay and they'll run away. They know that when I'm going to call the police. For $50. The cost of calculus polishing problem is going to be over 100 200 $300. And so these guys have mastered of stealing. And I felt, you know what, then I did a data research and I found there's been actually so many deaths. Because of this. They won't imagine on a given day. There are 140 incidents in our province with a gas and run. Think about 140 times. Anytime there's somebody going to fill up a gas and he knows he's not going to pay because he knows he doesn't want to pay. He's not gonna say excuse me, Darren, can you please get to the sites that I run? I want to run away. Nope. He's going to just quickly fill up the gas slam into his car, press the gas pedal and ran right. So Look around who's there who's not there? Because he's, he knows he's doing something wrong. So I felt, you know, this is something which we can see how simple it is. In BC in Alberta, all you have to do is you prepay before you fill the gas. So you already paid, oh, my goodness, you can't run away because you don't have to run away because you already paid. Right. So these are the things which I love about the job is that anytime when you know there is a problem, you can actually bring the change, you can actually find the solution and you can implement that solution.
Darren Anderson 25:35
And making a real difference. That's, got to feel really good to be able to go home at the end of the day and know that you've had that kind of impact, not just on this particular person, but you know, for folks across the province.
Deepak Anand 25:51
Absolutely, absolutely. Well, I can't thank you enough to the community for giving me this opportunity to serve. I am enjoying it. Honestly, I am enjoying it.
Darren Anderson 26:01
Well, thank you so much Deepak for spending time with us today on periodically political, it was really a pleasure. And we very much appreciate the insight you've given all of our politics, curious listeners. So thank you so much for spending time with us today.
Deepak Anand 26:16
Absolutely. And the last word I always say to everybody is, you know, I think I believe that I became MPP. Because I was blessed to know people who either asked for a help, or I help them. So I always tell everybody, whenever you think that you need to help, do not shy away, please take a help. Because when you're going to take a help, I can guarantee you, you would like to give help, more help than what you've got. And you should build that vicious cycle of taking and giving, there's nothing wrong, as long as the intentions are good. And if and I would again, encourage everybody to please vote, because every time you vote, you're actually making us feel that you know the there is more value in connecting with the communities. And finally, if you have any suggestion, anything you want to work with us, I'm 100% accessible, I will not ask you, where do you live, and what issue you have. If you have a good, you have a good suggestion, let's work together if there is any problem that I can work with you and help you within my limited capacity. It will be I'll be the first one to say thank you to you for giving me that opportunity. And finally, Darren, and finally, Chris, to you both. Also, thank you for connecting me to the wider audience. I mean, I'm sure a lot of people going to hear it, which I don't know them, and they don't know me. But thank you to both of you that we will also be connected. And finally, I'm like to give my cell phone which is 647-382-1010. And I'll be happy to do within my small capacity, if I can be of any helpful. Thank you so much.
Darren Anderson 28:07
Wonderful, thank you. And you can tell from all of your answers here in the interview how important that sense of community is to you. And you can tell that we've, I think built a bit of a broader community here today with this conversation. So thank you again. For audience members. If you liked this episode, we encourage you to rate and review this podcast wherever you get your podcasts, it really helps new listeners discover the show and join the broader community that we were just discussing. So thank you very much. Signing off.