We kick off a new series where we ask politicians and those political aspirants some tough questions. We start with Federal NDP candidate for Mississauga-Centre Farheen Khan. The press release that announced her candidacy some months ago hyped up the fact that she was Peel’s first (and certainly not the last) hijabi candidate, prompting some cynics to wonder if there was any need to highlight her head covering. What if one Christian candidate boasted he wore a crucifix around his neck! One of her opponents sent out emails mocking the fact that she was using the hijabi to garner votes from that demographic. So we asked her about it.
Many people privately criticize the fact that your credentials include being Peel’s first hijabi candidate. Why draw attention to the fact and should it matter if a candidate chooses to wear a hijab or not?
Yes it’s true, I do wear a hijab, but I wouldn’t consider that a credential. I stand by my record of dedicating my entire life to the betterment of my city, Mississauga. As the only candidate born and raised in Mississauga, I understand firsthand the challenges that we face right here in Mississauga. As I grew older I became engaged in many different community boards and began working in the Not for Profit sector on issues of poverty, homelessness, youth empowerment and violence against women, through these experiences and as a consultant I have developed the necessary skills, knowledge, and experience to be the next Member of Parliament of Mississauga Centre.
Name three original ideas you plan on bringing to the table if elected? Will you end up towing the official party line or will you stand up for principle?
Residents are tired of the Harper Conservatives’ failed plan that has Mississaugans working harder but are not getting ahead. We need to stop prioritizing divisive and negative partisan politics and focus on building the 6th largest city in Canada. We need to improve our economy by making sure we have reliable, stable, and local jobs – the NDP and I have a plan for that. The Canada that stands for individual rights, multiculturalism, inclusion, peacemaking, and national unity. By repealing that dangerous C-51 bill, the NDP and I will kick-start the process.
What is the biggest issues facing Mississauga today?
Mississauga residents like most Canadians are tired of having to struggle to make ends meet. Many are concerned about their taxes, transit and the never ending issues of traffic. Tom (Mulcair, in case you are wondering) and I have a concrete plan to invest in urban centres like Mississauga by introducing a new Minister of Urban Affairs.
With all that has been going on, the Muslim community has been marginalized and maligned. What can be done to change all that and ensure the community is part of the mainstream and not part off it?
With the Harper Conservatives playing divisive politics and promoting “hate and fear” against various ethnic and cultural groups it’s important now more than ever that the NDP form a majority government. That is why we don’t agree with Bill C-24, C-51 and the recent senate report about registering and certifying religious leaders. They target specific communities which legitimizes various forms of discrimination. I have full confidence in Mississauga residents that together we will rise above the fear mongering and will uphold the Charter of Rights and freedoms, not poke holes in it.
The NDP is seen to be surging ahead, why do you think NDP will be good for Canadians?
What the polls are suggesting is only confirming what I am hearing at the doors. Mississauga residents want change that they can trust. I’m proud to represent the NDP in Mississauga Centre and I believe Canadians like Mississauga Residents believe that the NDP is the party that will put the emphasis back on affordable living, investing in small businesses, creating better jobs and improving the economy. We are also the only party that has consistently opposed Bill C-51, and now that the Conservatives and Liberals have teamed up to pass the Bill, we have a consistent mandate to repeal it.