Canadian Arabs running in the Ontario municipal elections in 2014

Better Know a (Arab) Candidate

Candidate stories are provided for informational purposes only and does not represent an endorsement or any political affiliation by CAI. We invite you to bring to our attention any Canadian Arab candidates running in the Ontario municipal elections, email

Wasim Jarrah: Councillor, Ward 1, Newmarket

Wasim4c5f76.jpgRunning for Office - Handling Green Space, Transparency, and Assimilation

Wasim Jarrah's grandfather left at least one of his 36 grandchildren inspired. Watching him while growing up in Lebanon, Wasim learned that education, experience, and willingness to help others enriches one's life.

A few years after his immigration to Canada, Wasim decided to run for councillor in Newmarket’s Ward 1. Having spent 11 years in Newmarket, Wasim believes he has the knowledge, vision, and sense of leadership needed to improve the services provided in his ward and enhance its management.

He sees Ward 1 as a badly-run corporation where its residents pay the highest property taxes in town yet do not receive the corresponding value in services. As councillor, Wasim plans to utilise his business background in order to minimize spending and closely monitor the ward’s budget. For example, instead of spending money on paying external consultants, Wasim will help develop leaders who would willingly offer their free advice in order to see their community flourish.
Wasim also wishes to monitor the ward’s development and tailor it to the community’s needs. As a councillor, he would stop the unplanned expansion of the ward and strategise more green and community friendly spaces. One facility that he intends to construct is an ice-skating rink, a facility that is missing from Ward 1.
Moreover, Wasim’s personable and friendly demeanor, along with his good relations with his neighbours and community will enable him to better listen to, and communicate people’s needs to the council, ensuring that all are taken seriously and treated accordingly. He intends to be as available as possible to everyone, be it through social media platforms, such as Facebook and Twitter, or the old-school door knocking.
Having knocked on Canada’s door himself, Wasim feels that moving here has encouraged him to articulate his ideas for change more than he would in Lebanon. As much as he would have liked to be politically involved in the latter, Wasim sees the futility of attempting to affect change in a place where one’s voice is often discarded and unheard and prefers to contribute to a fully functioning and democratic society.
Thus, while sentimental attachment to Lebanon led him to build a house there, Wasim is building and embodying his grandfather’s vision in Canada, the country that has provided him with the wealth of opportunity, democracy, and equal treatment of all its citizens. Running for office is Wasim’s way of integrating into Canadian society as a fully contributing member, be it in politics or otherwise, an attitude which he sees as more widespread among the new generation of Arab newcomers.
To learn more about Wasim and his campaign, please visit his website at or check out his Facebook page and Twitter account. Should you have any questions that you would like to direct to Wasim, please communicate with him at

Noukha Dakroub: Public School Board Trustee, Wards 9 & 10, Mississauga

Noukha Dakroub: From First-Hand Experience to Local Policy

Investing in children for a better future

Nokha_Dakroub_-_Profile_Picture.jpg“What would you like to be when you grow up” is a global question that is often nonchalantly thrown at both children and young adults, without paying much attention to the state of confusion it creates. Nokha Dakroub believes the answer to this question is often inspired by grades, rather than skills, for schoolchildren in both middle and high school. Dakroub, running as a trustee for the Public School Board in Wards 9 & 10 in Mississauga, has a few ideas that would hopefully change this paradigm.
While Wards 9 and 10 are located in the northwest section of Mississauga, Nokha’s hometown is located in Lebanon, from which she moved to Canada at the age of 14. She finished high school in Ontario and completed a Masters degree in social work at York University. She started to work for various not-for-profit organizations, counselling women facing abuse and helping newcomers settle in Canada. Today, Nokha works as a settlement worker in schools in Wards 9 & 10.
Nokha sees social work as both a personal and political calling. As a settlement worker, Nokha spent considerable time learning about the system, both the schoolchildren’s needs, and their parents’ needs. She understands the problems newcomers face upon arrival in Canada, knows how immigration policies affect them, and can help solve many of the issues their children face in schools. The next step for Nokha was to politicize her work. Nokha sees policy-making as a vehicle, as a tool to effect change and a way to contribute to schools. By running as a trustee, she hopes to do exactly that.
Public School Trustees form the direct link between communities and school boards, where they work together to govern and establish policies, set budgets, advocate for the needs of their communities, and work with all levels of government to help ensure student success. Besides providing a safe and healthy environment, Nokha aims to focus on issues of inclusion and guidance.
For example, instead of letting schoolchildren wait until grade 11 to start thinking about their future careers, Nokha would like to ensure that they are aware of the new economy and start building the required skills to be competitive as early as elementary and middle school.
Nokha also plans to promote the importance of marketable skills as opposed to high grades as the only indication of a student’s future career choice. In other words, she will work towards providing schoolchildren with better guidance for locating their skills and matching them with a future career.

Nokha believes the only way to ensure the success of a society is through investment in its children. October 27th will decide her role in shaping that investment.

If you are interested in volunteering or getting involved in Noukha's campagin, please visit her website or contact her at 

Cozette Giannini: Councillor in Scarborough-Agincourt

Cozette_Giannin.jpgEliminating Bullying, Fighting for the Young

MP John McCallum and MP Maurizio Bevilacqua are a couple of names that Cozette Giannini has worked for. As early as the age of 16, Cozette has been interested in politics. First came political involvement throughout high school then an honours degree in political science and international relations. Immediately after that, she started an internship in municipal and local politics as a councillor’s assistant at Toronto City Hall. That was the beginning of her journey into politics, and today she is running for councillor in Scarborough-Agincourt.

Encouraged by her current campaign team, and inspired by the diversity of the community of Scarborough-Agincourt and her passion towards promoting its best interests, Cozette decided to run for the councillor position for Ward 39 and started campaigning at the beginning of March 2014.

Her campaign centres around four main issues: a safer environment, a stronger community, better support for young professionals and entrepreneurs, and an enhanced modern transit infrastructure.

Envisioning a safer environment for children, Cozette plans to work with the ward’s various schools and school trustee to help create and fund programs that target social, physical, and cyber bullying, eventually incorporating those programs within schools.

And who would think of bullying when they’re fully integrated into in-school community hours, afterschool programs, and political campaigns? Implementing leadership programs, launching a series of seminars for teenagers, and counselling their future job search are a few of the ideas Cozette has to further the younger generation’s sense of community and reciprocal support.

Libraries, schools, community and art centres will have a smarter infrastructure that offers tools for skills development and counselling, which Cozette plans to localize and spread within the community’s institutions.

The slightly older, yet dynamic and changing, generation of young professionals are also on Cozette’s mind. She plans on fully integrating and funding small business owners and entrepreneurs, encouraging them to stay and establish themselves within the city.

Regardless of age, access to public transit is one of those issues integral to every part of a community’s intactness and development. Cozette understands the complexity and expenses at stake for implementing that type of infrastructure, but also believes that an LRT or a connecting subway line are long overdue in Scarborough-Agincourt. That might not be the easiest task to accomplish, but Cozette is ready to do all it takes to show and meet the need for better public transit.

Easy or not, Cozette’s campaign perseveres with an inspiring Ruth Gordon saying: “Courage is like a muscle; it is strengthened by use.” In that spirit, and with the help of volunteers, an open ear to the community, and informative literature, Cozette will reach out to the 47,000 constituents of Ward 39, whom she hopes will benefit from her past experience and future plans.

If you would like to learn more about Cozette Giannini and her campaign, please visit her website at or contact her at

This story is provided for informational purposes only and does not represent an endorsement or any political affiliation by CAI. We invite you to bring to our attention any Canadian Arab candidates running in the Ontario municipal elections. Email