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On June 7th, the Muslim Coordinating Council of Ottawa-Carleton (MCC) organized an all candidates’ debate in the provincial riding of Ottawa-South, which has the city’s highest concentration of Muslim residents. Ottawa-South resident Qais Ghanem moderated the session, asking a range of questions from how the candidates would address global warming to how they would address the lack of recognition for foreign credentials.
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.
On Thursday, August 1st, residents of the provincial riding of Ottawa-South will be going to the polls. The riding has been held by former Ontario Premier Dalton McGuinty since 1990. Ottawa-South is known for its deeply-rooted Liberal patriotism but since the resignation of Dalton McGuinty; there is speculation that the riding could be changing its colour from Liberal Red to Progressive Conservative Blue.
Considering that Ottawa-South has the highest concentration of Muslims in the city, Muslim Link decided to interview candidates Bronwyn Funiciello with the New Democratic Party (NDP), Matt Young with the Progressive Conservative Party (PC), and John Fraser with the Liberal Party to see how they plan to address issues which Muslims in the riding we interviewed identified as priorities.
Bronwyn Funiciello is the New Democratic Party (NDP) provincial candidate running in Ottawa-South. Muslim Link's Suzanne Kanso had an opportunity to interview Bronwyn in her campaign office on Thursday, July 18th.
Muslim Link: Muslim Canadians own many small businesses in Ottawa- South, particularly restaurants, and are facing difficulties with their rising hydro costs. How do you plan to control rising hydro rates?