In the wake of the news that MP Ahmed Hussen has been appointed to the position of Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship, Muslim Link reached out to first and second generation Somali Canadians from across the country to get their reflections on what this appointment means for them. While for many Muslims, the appointment of another Muslim to Trudeau’s cabinet is seen as a victory against rising Islamophobia, for Somali Canadians, it means something far greater-hope for a brighter future in Canada.
Back in Grade 5, I recall leafing through my new social studies textbook on the first week of school. My teacher at the time explained that that year, we would be learning about Canada and the history of the Canadian government. As I flipped through the pages, an image caught my eye. It was the floor plan of the House of Commons. Someone raised their hand to ask where the Prime Minister sat and our teacher pointed us to the legend describing which labels on the plan were which on the floor: Prime Minister, the Opposition, the Speaker, clerks...
We at Muslim Link strive to make it a non-partisan publication that respects that Ottawa's Muslims support a variety of political parties. However, when we were invited to spend a day with Yasir Naqvi, the Ontario Minister of Labour with the Liberal Party, we jumped on the opportunity to see just what a politician does with his or her time. Our goal is to demystify the work of politicians and encourage citizens to take more of an interest in politicians' work throughout their time in office, not just during elections. This is important in order to keep politicians accountable to their constituents. Along with Muslim Link reporters, 16 year-old Adilah Makrup, a Lisgar High School student and photographer living in Yasir's riding, was invited to join Muslim Link on November 15th for the chance to connect with the man who represents her and her family provincially. We hope that this will become a regular series as more politicians invite us to spend the day with them.
Being asked to cover the Ottawa-South provincial by-election for Muslim Link was a wakeup call and reality check for me as a Lebanese Muslim Canadian. Because I live in the riding, I had to think about how provincial politics affect my life and the lives of my friends and family.
But what I often hear when the topic comes up is: “I hate politics!” or “ Please let's not talk about politics”.
Automatically, the door is shut upon this topic and the conversation shifts to what seems more important ”“ the latest goings on Facebook.