Guelph NDP candidate Aisha Jahangir has a day job as a mental health nurse at the Hamilton-Wentworth detention facility. It’s unique perch to see first hand the effects of COVID-19 and the effectiveness of pandemic preventative measures, and Jahangir would like to take that experience to Parliament Hill. While he’s running for a love of community, but she’s also running because she’d like to see some real change.
“Through this pandemic, people saw that with New Democrat MPs in the House, even though there were only 24 of us, we were mighty, we brought about and advocated for what Canadians needed,” Jahangir said on the most recent episode of Open Sources Guelph. “That’s exactly what we’re doing in this campaign, we recognize that when you support people and make sure they have what they need, it helps build the economy and supports the community.”
Top of mind is the pandemic though, which, of course, Jahangir has first hand experience with. From her observations, the pandemic has not created new problems for the country’s healthcare sector, it’s just exposed all the ones that were already there.
“The pandemic has been very stressful, causing a lot of anxiety among staff, even our patients, with all the uncertainty, and the mixed messages we’re receiving from the government,” Jahangir said. “I’m really, really concerned, but not surprised, because pandemic or not, the reality is that Ontario has the least number of beds per capita, and if you look at a growing city like Guelph, we were promised a second hospital years ago, and yet we continue to wait.”
When it comes to campaigning during the pandemic, Jahangir said that she misses the personal connection going door-to-door, meeting people and hearing their concerns, but the Delta variant, and the extreme hot weather in the first few weeks of the campaign, made Jahangir and her team put heath and wellness first.
“I didn’t want to compromise people further, and I wanted to minimize the risk of transmission,” Jahangir said adding that health was the reason the NDP don’t have a local campaign office this election. “I thought that running an office could be extremely difficult and strenuous, but we’ve been doing a fabulous job by running this campaign virtually.”
“People nowadays are checking the internet, they’re Googling, they’re doing their homework, so if they want to speak to me, they have ample opportunities to do so,” Jahangir added. “The other thing we’re doing is having me available at several parks across the city where people can set up an appointment or they can just show up and have a chat. It’s not about me reaching out, it’s about me understanding what the issues are.”
Like nearly all the major political parties, the NDP want climate action to be a priority, which is where Jahangir sees an opening to attack the governing Liberals on their lack of action on the issue. “Let’s be clear, over the six years that Justin Trudeau has been in office our emissions have been going in the opposite direction, we’re the only G7 country whose emissions have continued to go up,” she said.
“We believe in supporting the economy, and by doing that we will be creating hundreds of thousands of good paying jobs by investing in clean energy, energy efficient affordable homes, electric transit, and zero emission vehicles,” Jahangir added. “We are committed to climate action and we are going to do what needs to be done in order to win this, because our future, and the future of our children, depends on it.”
You can learn more about Aisha Jahangir and her campaign by accessing her website here.