By Aaron Berhane November 2010 Last month, the municipal elections were held in all cities in Ontario. Candidates ran for mayor, city councillors and ...
By Aaron Berhane
Last month, the municipal elections were held in all cities in Ontario. Candidates ran for mayor, city councillors and members of District School Boards. They campaigned to convince voters that they were qualified for the positions for which they were running. On October 25th, voters elected Mr. Rob Ford as mayor of Toronto. He will run the city with his 44 councillors (both new and old) for the next four years.
The election held in our multicultural city of Toronto was very fascinating. Minorities ran as candidates for mayor, city councillors, and District School Board members. They tried to show their capacities and dreams for their voters. They promised to prioritize the issues of minorities on their agendas, and worked hard to get voters to cast their ballots for them. Even though most of them didn’t succeed in the municipal elections, they proved it was time for minorities to come to power. The candidates made their communities proud by representing them.
What about us? As part of Canadian society, what was our role in the municipal election? Did we send someone who could represent us in the elections? Did we encourage anyone who could run for city council or school trustee? We need to examine this issue with grave concern.
To our delight, this time one member of our community, Mr. Yonas Jemeston, ran for the position of city councillor. He is the first person to take the initiative from our community. Though he didn’t win, he showed us it is doable. We have to see more candidates like him in the future.
We understand the power of a vote, and it is not an issue for us. But it might be scary for members of our community to try running for office due to the oppressive culture we’ve been raised in. Our minds may still be lost in the Eritrean jungle. Therefore, we may feel puzzled about how to navigate Canadian political waters. Or we may not believe that we qualify as candidates. We may give whatever excuse we wish. However, we need to be careful not to influence our youth negatively.
Our youth have talents and capacities to run for municipal, provincial or federal positions. But they need our blessing to take the initiative to do so. We need to prepare them right now so that they will run in future elections. We need to create a comfortable atmosphere in our community to arm them with practical training apart the theoretical knowledge they acquire in school. We need to encourage them to march beyond the small circle of our community.
The challenges of our community can only be solved if we take a coordinated long-term approach. To do this, we must invest in our children and youth. Having our youth actively involved in several levels of government will have a positive impact on our community growth. If we sow a healthy plant now, we will definitely reap healthy fruit in the near future. Therefore, let’s invest in our youth so that they will climb the ladder of leadership.