In 1990, my parents made the difficult decision to leave Egypt with my sister and I – then teenagers – and immigrate to Canada, fleeing persecution, hardship, and intolerance. For those in Canada who have shared a similar experience of migrating from their homeland, I am sure they can appreciate the uncertainty of leaving all they’ve ever known, country and community, to venture into the unknown. But in spite of the moments of confusion, fear, regret, and sense of lost identity, I found strength through my faith in God and by believing that there was a plan and a purpose for my life. I also held many hopes and dreams about Canada, the land we chose to call home.
Over the years, Canada provided me with many opportunities for success. I learned quickly that Canada is a land of opportunity, where one can achieve their greatest aspirations if they give it what it takes. In spending the majority of my life in this great country, I’ve come to embody and ascribe to the integral values upon which Canada was built, the same values which I have instilled in my children, including hard work, respect for human rights, fairness, self-improvement, and equal opportunity for all, no matter their race, sex, sexual orientation, marital status, age, or political or religious beliefs. Inclusiveness, acceptance, tolerance, and respect for all people are central to life in Canada, and thus, were values I held dear and strongly promoted among my family, friends and colleagues.
As I grew older, got married, and raised my family in Canada, I also began to recognize the importance of public engagement, community involvement, and service. Such values inspired me to focus on giving back to this wonderful country and to my community in spite of being a busy professional and mom. My involvement in community efforts, such as the Streetsville Rotary Club, the Canadian Coptic Center, and other not-for-profit organizations, opened many avenues for me to contribute, and presented rewarding experiences that I cherish every day, for instance:
The ability to make the life of Peel’s children a little easier through supporting the Children’s Aid Foundation;
Fighting hunger by raising funds for the Mississauga and St. Mary’s foodbanks;
Helping female victims of violence by funding projects at the Armagh House; and
Partnering with Participation, Acknowledgement, Commitment, and Transformation (PACT) Youth Crime Reduction Program, to support marginalized and at-risk youth, especially those already in conflict with the law.
As a first-generation immigrant, and a member of the indigenous Coptic minority of Egypt, I will always cherish Canadian values and all aspects that make this country the best place to live. Over the years, I have learned a tremendous amount about myself and, undoubtedly, I will continue to evolve and grow as an individual. In the meantime, I will continue to cherish public service and will strive to make a difference in people’s lives by helping them get ahead. This is the reason I am running in the federal election as a candidate in Mississauga-Streetsville, and am proud to say that numerous groups have supported my candidacy. I trust that others will continue to join me on this journey.
I believe it is my duty to give back to a country that has given me so much, and to be a voice for all the people who call Mississauga-Streetsville home and ultimately to serve on behalf of all Canadians.