On the final day of voting, here are the federal candidates for UTM’s riding of Mississauga–Erin Mills.
Iqra Khalid, Liberal Party MP candidate
Iqra Khalid is the Liberal candidate running for re-election as MP for the Mississauga–Erin Mills riding, where the UTM campus is located.
After her election in 2015, Khalid came to national attention in December 2016 for tabling Motion 103, which called for a condemnation of “Islamophobia and all forms of systemic racism and religious discrimination.” The motion was opposed by some Conservative MPs, who called it an attack on free speech and freedom of expression. Although the motion passed, it stirred debate online and caused protests and demonstrations throughout the country.
In August 2018, Khalid made national news again after giving a community service award to Amin El-Maoued, the public relations chief of Palestine House, who was accused of anti-Semitism. Though Khalid later apologized and rescinded the award, she was criticized again this September for meeting with El-Maoued at his home in Mississauga, prompting the Conservative Party to call on Liberal Party leader Justin Trudeau to “fire” Khalid.
Most recently, Khalid spoke out in support of Trudeau after several photos and a video emerged of him wearing blackface and brownface. Khalid emphasized that the prime minister’s actions do not detract from his term in office. “I’ve seen him put his money where his mouth is. I’ve seen him really go above and beyond to make sure that he’s standing with vulnerable communities to really speak out against racism,” she said.
Hani Tawfilis, Conservative Party MP candidate
Hani Tawfilis is the Conservative candidate for Mississauga–Erin Mills, where the UTM campus is located. Tawfilis declined to attend a candidate debate at UTM, instead opting for a meet-and-greet with the UTM Campus Conservatives, according to Mississauga.com.
Tawfilis is a pharmacy store owner, licensed pharmacist, and according to the Conservative Party website, a spokesperson for the Coptic Orthodox Community.
The Varsity has reached out to Tawfilis for comment.
Salman Tariq, New Democratic Party MP candidate
Salman Tariq is the New Democratic Party (NDP) MP candidate for the Mississauga–Erin Mills riding, where the UTM campus is located. Outside of politics, Tariq connects international students to academic opportunities through his work as a consultant.
Tariq’s top priorities include lowering student debt, implementing universal pharma care, and creating more affordable housing and internet services.
At a federal candidates debate held at UTM on October 2, Tariq elaborated on his promises related to student debt. According to Mississauga.com, Tariq pledged that the NDP would get rid of interest on student loans and criticized the Liberals for not having done this already. In addition, Tariq promised that the NDP would create more grants for postsecondary students.
The Conservative candidate for the same riding, Hani Tawfilis, was absent from the debate, opting instead to attend a meet-and-greet organized by the UTM Campus Conservatives. Tariq responded to Tawfilis’ absence at the debate, writing to Mississauga.com, “all people who put their name on the ballot should be available to speak to the constituents.”
The Varsity has reached out to Tariq for comment.
Remo Boscarino-Gaetano, Green Party MP candidate
Remo Boscarino-Gaetano is the Green Party MP candidate for the Mississauga–Erin Mills, riding, where the UTM campus is located. Currently an undergraduate student at the University of Guelph, Boscarino-Gaetano identified the two most important issues facing students as being the climate crisis and the rising cost of living.
“I chose to run for the Green Party not only for its clear commitments on climate change, but also for its socially progressive values,” wrote Boscarino-Gaetano in an email to The Varsity.
The Green Party plans to make all postsecondary education free and forgive all student debt owed to the federal government. It also plans to remove the two per cent cap on increases in funding for Indigenous students. On the topic of student mental health, Boscarino-Gaetano wrote that he agrees that the federal government needs to do more.
Regarding the environment, Boscarino-Gaetano firmly believes that “universities should absolutely divest from fossil fuels,” and “[invest] in clean technology, as that is the clear path that the rest of the world is travelling and we cannot afford to get left behind.”
“I’m disgusted by the Ford government’s attacks on students,” wrote Boscarino-Gaetano, calling the Student Choice Initiative (SCI) “an affront to our rights as students.” He hopes that the SCI will be overturned in the ongoing court case.