Like most newcomers, Fayaz Karim faced many challenges when he migrated from Trinidad & Tobago 26 years ago. He worked in a factory warehouse, worked as a courier and in sales and was a business manager in the auto industry before opening a commercial freight transportation business that he operated for a decade before returning to university.
“I worked hard like most people just to make ends meet,” said Karim. “It was not always easy, but I made sure that I was not without a job because I didn’t want to rely on social services which I never did.”
In addition to pursuing his Master’s in political science at the University of Toronto, Karim is an executive member of the Peel Poverty Action Group that advocates on behalf of the homeless and struggling families.
Working with that group has provided Karim with a unique and numbing perspective of what poverty does to people. It has also inspired him to become politically engaged.
“I have come to realize that a lot of inequalities people face are created that way because of policies that are made,” he said. “I thought the only way real change could be made to eliminate equality and poverty is through the political system.”
The New Democratic Party (NDP) candidate in Mississauga East-Cooksville said he’s concerned about the increasing rise in living costs and the scandals and wastage of millions of dollars by the incumbent Liberals.
“We will all pay the price for those things down the road and that really does not sit well with the constituents in my riding,” said Karim. “They also worry about the lack of permanent and good-paying jobs, our healthcare system, gridlock and poor transit, the high cost of post-secondary education and their inability to make ends meet.
“We can do better as a province and make life more affordable. I am a passionate advocate of social, political and economic fairness, equality of opportunity and accountability.”
Raised in San Juan, which is in northeastern Trinidad, Karim graduated from Trinity College and opened an upholstery business in his community. He closed it after two years and migrated to Canada.
The married father of two, who played cricket and volleyball and enjoys fishing and camping, is among several first-time Black and visible minority candidates contesting the June 12 provincial elections.
Born and raised in Toronto, York South-Weston Conservative Party candidate Andrew Ffrench’s interest is on creating jobs and growing the economy.
“There was a time when there were lots of good-paying jobs in this community,” he said. “I want to help bring that back by developing a business environment that will be attractive to large and medium-sized companies. When I knock on doors, the issue of jobs is at the top of residents’ concerns. Their message for change is loud can clear.”
A York University graduate, Ffrench is a mortgage agent.
Granville Anderson has been a Peterborough, Victoria, Northumberland & Clarington Catholic District School Board trustee for the past 11 years, serving as vice-chair and chair.
He has stepped up now to be the Liberal Party candidate in Durham.
“I became involved in the political process as a member of my student council and I have been a Liberal member since 1984,” said Anderson. “I think it was only natural for me to make the leap now as a provincial candidate. I am relishing the campaign and as I canvas this community, the lack of jobs is the main concern of constituents.”
The son of retired teachers, Anderson came to Canada four decades ago and graduated from Seneca College with a business administration diploma and York University with a political science degree. He also holds an advanced certificate in dispute resolution from the University of Windsor.
A Clarington resident for the last 25 years, Anderson is the owner and principal mediator of Anderson Mediation & Conflict Management.