Changing of the guard?

By Sabrina Almeida

Liberal candidates John McCallum, Gagan Sikand, Iqra Khalid and Ruby Sahota

Mississauga, September 25 (CINEWS) On Wednesday afternoon Can-India welcomed four Liberal candidates to a lively discussion on their party’s election promises. From foreign policy and jobs to immigration and refugees they enunciated the Liberal election manifesto in their own speak. Everything stayed pretty much on track with the rhetoric we’ve been hearing from their leader Justin Trudeau. Greater investment in infrastructure, more jobs and more money for the middle-class, welcoming more immigrants, foreign students and refugees, etc.
John McCallum (Markham-Thornhill), Gagan Sikand (Mississauga-Streetsville), Iqra Khalid (Mississauga-Erin Mills) and Ruby Sahota (Brampton-North) took turns in sharing the Liberal vision punctuated with examples of their experiences on the campaign trail and few jabs at the two other parties.
They emphasized that the campaign adds against Trudeau had lost their sting and that voters had come to believe “he was ready” to take on the reigns of the country just as Canadians were for a change in government.
As I glanced around the room at this particular gathering of candidates, I observed the Liberal plan for “Real Change” working on two levels. From the Conservatives to the Liberals as well as making way for fresh new faces. A big need given the current job scenario where a young hopefuls have to contend with aging work force that doesn’t seem to want to leave.
The youthful enthusiasm of the new recruits couldn’t be missed although veteran John McCallum (who humorously referred to himself as “old stock”) anchored them with his experience, wit and deft handling of leading questions. Hopefully the candidates were making mental notes.
If the Liberal party is looking to enthuse and include Gen Y and the Millennials, the new faces are certainly a step in the right direction. Whether they will stand a fair chance against the experienced incumbents in their ridings is a whole different matter. That aside, I could see the youth and immigrants relating to these candidates who were closer in age and background. That’s important considering we live in a new multicultural Canada and want the new citizens to be involved as well as are looking to attract young immigrant professionals to our shores.
Ruby Sahota and Iqra Khalid serve as role models for the young girls and women in their communities and all immigrants. (The Liberals have the second highest number of female candidates which is 106. NDP tops with 140 while the Conservatives trail with just 64.) Sahota’s observation of an increase in female volunteers for her campaign certainly points in that direction. Khalid too is encouraged by a similar response and recalled a young woman who was just so happy to meet her. They confidently presented their stance and shared the stage with McCallum and Sikand. Let’s hope they will be able to get more new Canadians to come out and vote on October 19. Sahota says that she has been continually urging people to do so.
What these candidates lack in experience is compensated perhaps by their enthusiasm, hope and drive.
Experience has its advantages and that accounts for the ease with which McCallum drew you to his perspective and brought you on to the Liberal track. It wasn’t just what McCallum said that brought home the Liberal message but the unfinished sentences, strategic pauses and what he left unsaid that made more of a mark. After all, the former defence minister has been in politics for close to 15 years.
All four strode out with confidence and a strong hope that they will be able to bring about “real change” for their communities and the whole country. Let’s see if the voters agree!

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