On the final day of voting, here are the federal candidates for UTSC’s riding of Scarborough–Rouge Park.
Gary Anandasangaree, Liberal Party MP candidate
Gary Anandasangaree is the Liberal candidate running for re-election as MP for the Scarborough–Rouge Park riding, where the UTSC campus is located. Outside of federal politics, Anandasangaree is a human rights lawyer and community activist.
In an interview with The Varsity, Anandasangaree discussed the importance of students in this election. “I feel that that U of T and [postsecondary education] is probably our most important stakeholder in the riding,” he said. He went on to point to rising postsecondary education costs as the top issue for students, emphasizing the party’s commitment to affordable education.
In particular, Anandasangaree pointed out the Ford government’s cuts to universities and colleges as “two steps forward, two steps back.” He referred to the burden that a reduction in provincial funding had on federal scholarships.
On pictures showing Liberal Party leader Justin Trudeau in blackface and brownface, and the message it may send to racialized students, Anandasangaree said: “Justin Trudeau is a friend of mine. He is someone I deeply respect. He… made several mistakes on this front and I think he’s taken full ownership of it.”
Bobby Singh, Conservative MP candidate
Bobby Singh is the Conservative MP candidate for the Scarborough–Rouge Park riding, where the UTSC campus is located. Singh is an entrepreneur with degrees from York University and U of T. At a federal candidates debate hosted by UTSC, Singh said his top policy priority if elected would be “reducing taxes and expenditures.”
Singh noted that certain areas of his riding are living at or below the poverty line and stated tax cuts would help address this challenge. With regard to the climate crisis, Singh acknowledged that “immediate… action is required.” However, he disagrees with carbon tax measures on the basis that they “unfairly penalize [local] companies.” Singh would rather see carbon absorption policy to address the climate crisis.
The Conservative candidate also called for greater inter-party cooperation. Singh has been involved in a number of organizations working to address issues such as accessibility and inclusivity in relation to education.
According to Toronto.com, at an event in Malvern, Singh criticized Trudeau’s wearing of brownface and blackface and said that he would “support a (national) anti-racism strategy, but not the one tabled by the Liberals.” The official Conservative Party platform does not feature the words “race” or “racism.”
The Varsity has reached out to Singh for comment.
Kingsley Kwok, New Democratic Party MP candidate
Kingsley Kwok is the New Democratic Party (NDP) MP candidate for the Scarborough–Rouge Park riding, where the UTSC campus is located. Kwok is a registered respiratory therapist at Scarborough General Hospital and president of his union for health workers in his region.
At a candidate debate organized by UTSC, Kwok stated that his top policy priority upon election would be to “fight the climate crisis like we want to win.” Kwok criticized the Liberal government at a past debate for responding too slowly to the climate crisis. Kwok stated that his party’s approach to the climate crisis would include a carbon tax, while simultaneously creating new jobs.
Kwok also recognized the contributions students make to protesting political issues, citing specifically an 18-year-old student who was in critical condition after being shot by police at a protest in Hong Kong.
Kwok supports raising taxes for higher-income individuals and corporations so that government programs can remain intact. In order to advocate against funding cuts, Kwok was one of the creators of the Scarborough Health Coalition. Kwok claimed that “nothing is more important than health care,” and endorsed the NDP plan to implement a universal pharma care program.
The Varsity has reached out to Kwok for comment.
Jessica Hamilton, Green Party MP candidate
Jessica Hamilton is the Green Party MP candidate for the Scarborough–Rouge Park riding, where the UTSC campus is located. Hamilton works as a therapist for children diagnosed with autism.
In an interview with The Varsity, Hamilton said she decided to run for parliament after a disheartening experience with her local MP, which made her realize that “there was nobody actually looking out for us, there was nobody who could actually speak on behalf of us, and the status quo wasn’t working anymore.”
On student debt among postsecondary students, Hamilton referenced the Green Party’s plan to forgive federal debt for individuals who currently have student debt, and to move toward free tuition for postsecondary education.
On the issue of mental health, specifically within the UTSC campus, Hamilton expressed her intention of interacting with the Scarborough–Rouge Park community on a more personal level.
Hamilton also mentioned the Green Party’s plan to establish a mental health minister who would oversee how mental health solutions and preventative measures could be put into place at the provincial and municipal levels.
On the climate crisis, Hamilton mentioned the Green Party’s goal of moving into a clean economy through the elimination of fossil fuels and the investment in a clean energy grid.
With files from Kate Reeve and Kathryn Mannie.