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In the 2019 Federal election, I voted for ….?


Deciding to vote for a candidate has never been easier, that is if you are not aligned or loyal to a party.

I came to Canada when Brian Mulroney was the Prime Minister. In the 1988 elections, the Progressive Conservative under Brian Mulroney won the elections primarily on a single issue, Canada-U.S. Free Trade Agreement which was opposed by the Liberals and the NDP. As a teenager I was sold on the idea of the Canada-U.S. Free Trade Agreement under Brain Mulroney.

Back then, I spent much of my time at Madina Masjid which was the hub of Toronto Muslims. Although politicians frequented the Masjid on Danforth St, I did not get involved with any political party. I also witnessed the incident where shoes of politicians were taken away as a protest against the management to not allow Politicians in the Masjid.

My first close encounter with a politician was when I met Jean Chrétien in 1992 while he was on a campaign walk on Danforth Street and Pape Ave in Toronto. I did not know him and when he came to shake my hands in the Greek part of the town, I extended my hands and said “Hi”. I asked the people around him who he was; In short, I came to know he wants to be the next Prime Minister of Canada. I was not a citizen then but felt I would vote for him if I could.

The 1993 federal elections was mostly about the economy, deficit, and Nafta. The reform party under Preston Manning promising to bring deficit to $0 within 3 years was a very bold promise. The liberals promised new programs such as a limited public works, and pledged to repeal the Goods and Services Tax and promised to try to renegotiate the FTA. These were issues that I thought at the time was most important to me.  I was not a citizen yet and could not vote.

In the 1997 federal elections although after forming the Govt in 1993 the liberals renegaded on their promise and signed the Nafta and did not repeal the GST, I did not make it much of an issue for me since PM Jean Chretien promised he would use the surplus from the GST to pay down the debt. It made perfect sense at that time. Again, in this election I could not vote, as I was not a citizen yet.

The 2000 federal election for me was about surpluses and impressed with how the liberals ended the deficits I had a chance to vote for the first time. My Liberal candidate Peter Warkentin lost out to Gurmant Grewalfor the Canadian Alliance but Jean Chrétien did end up winning more seats across Canada to be the Prime Minister.

The 2004 federal election was exciting because it was about a new Canada and a fresh start with all three major national parties having new leaders. Requiring just 155 of the 308 seats to hold a majority in Canada the Liberals came short of this number, winning only 135.  The combined seat count of the Liberals and the NDP was 154, while the other 154 Conservatives, Bloquistes, and one independent Chuck Cadman. Prime Minister Paul Martin managed to run a minority Government without a formal coalition. This was expected and many liberals felt Paul Martin was the reason for division in the liberal Party. Nonetheless, I chose to vote for Sukh Dhaliwal under Paul Martin because of his fiscal policies and the surpluses. Sukh lost to the incumbent Gurmant Grewal for the Canadian Alliance.

The 2006 federal election was for many a disaster. Paul Martin called an early election which many felt was ill advised. He paid a price for his decision by holding the longest election in the last two decades. The sponsorship scandal significantly weakened the Liberals under Martin who later resigned as Prime Minister. This time again I chose to vote for Sukh Dhaliwal under Martin just because Martin dared to call an election on the party’s record on the sponsorship scandal. My view of the sponsorship was that it was an exercise to keep Canada united and that was important for me. The sponsorship program originally was designed to place Canadian flags and banners at events in Quebec after the 1995 referendum on sovereignty. The program later became a symbol of Liberal mismanagement and patronage in the early 2000s.

The 2008 federal election was called by the Governor General on the request of the Prime Minister Stephen Harper. I was not amused the fact that we were going into a third election in four years and voted for Sukh Dhaliwal.  The results of the 2008 elections were disappointing. I did not like the fact that some prominent Liberals abandoned ship to join the conservatives like David Emerson and Wajid Khan. I wished the government would continue with a coalition of the Liberals and New Democrats, which was also signed on Dec 01, 2008 and ready after ousting the minority Conservative government. I was fond of Dion and was impressed by his judgement. January 27, 2009 when the time came to dissolve the parliament and bring a coalition Government, the liberals did a U-Turn on their agreement. Not amused by their decision I frankly had told Mr. SukhDhaliwal at Surrey Masjid that my vote was for Stephen Dion and not Michael Ignatieff. I could not come to terms the way liberals gave away a historic moment to form a coalition Government for the better instead of their self-petty interests.  

Feeling let down by the liberals going into the 2011 federal elections I chose to stand with a more principled party under Jack Layton and voted for Jinny Sims.  She won against Sukh and the liberals were destroyed across Canada.  

By the time of the 2015 federal elections, Prime Minister Stephen Harper had pretty much destroyed the social inclusive compassionate image of the Canada that I believed in. I was fond of a new Fresh Face of Justin Trudeau but I was not in his riding. I decided to vote for Jinny Sims who stood with the Muslim community in the absence of any credible voice from the Liberals side over the Harper years. One has to reflect especially when under The liberals -Ahmad Elmaati in 2001, Maher Arar in 2002, Abdullah Almalki in 2002, Muayyed Nureddin in late 2003 and early 2004 were tortured in Syria based on false Information by the Canadian liberal Government, and not to mention Omar Khadr who was sent to Guantanamo Bay in 2002. How could you trust the liberals when they threw the Muslims under the Bus and therefore we needed a MP who would stand with us in difficult times.I don’t regret my decision for supporting Jinny Sims even though she lost to Sukh Dhaliwal in an anti Harper wave.

Coming to 2019 elections, there is so much hype that one has to wonder what will happen after October 21st especially going through a decade of Harper years that also was partly due to the liberals not forming a Coalition Government.

The issues bothering me these election is the looming deficit that keeps growing, the erosion of Charter of rights with the SNC Case where a two tier law is proposed for the economic benefit,  Canada’s role in the international community, the fight against racism and hatred that is becoming a political issue for vote pandering by politicians on all sides  and most importantly a quest for a just equal and compassionate Canada.  Finally, the decision has to be made, who do I vote for and it is not easy. Will my candidate be able to deliver on the promises, be accessible or stand with me on the issues at least vocally when needed.

Confused and unable to decide, So I asked my myself would I vote for Justin Trudeau  if I were in his riding, YES, Would I vote for Jagmeet Singh if I were in his riding, Yes. Would I Vote for Elizabeth May if were in her riding, Yes. Not to mention if I were in a riding with strong independents running like for example Imam Imam Hassan Guillet in Montreal and Jody wilson-raybould in Vancouver, I would vote for them.

Therefore, the strategy I chose to decide on a candidate was to keep the Conservative out. There are some good candidates in the conservative party, but overall the party has yet to prove not with words but with action that they will embrace a Canada that is inclusive, tolerant, compassionate and equal for all human beings.

Assuming the candidates are credible and has integrity, Till then vote for a Green candidate in a riding where the greens are strong and favored to win, Vote for a NDP Candidate where the NDP are strong and favored to win and Vote for the Liberals where the Liberals are strong and favored to win. 

The purpose of this lengthy note was to understand why I vote the way I do and perhaps inspire others to ask themselves, Why should I vote for…….. ?

Who is favored to win your riding? That is for you to decide. On October 21st, go out and Vote.