SAM FOOD STORE PRESIDENT
My Canadian journey for the Councillor Election
THINK CITY MOTTO, CHOOSE FROM DIVERSITY
I am Khuram Aftab, your candidate in Ward 13 in upcoming City Election to be held on Monday, October 22, 2018
It is my obligation to put forward my visions and perspectives towards this important election, where the City Council is important as a whole because it holds most of the city power. The changes made to the Ward Boundaries and the newly opened council races will make this a very important and interesting election.
Therefore, here I am. Onward from my school days, I have been keen to do public service with care and benevolence into it as much as possible. In the University life, I was a Student Leader. After completing my MBA degree (Master in Business Administration in Finance), I immigrated to Canada in 2004 and continued my study for CPA but due to living expenditures, I started working at Sam’s Food Store located at 236 Sherbourne Street. That opened up my whole vision within a few years and has seen many owners changed because of street violence and the life threats that happened in that Store. In 2006 I took ownership of the store and I faced the challenge to stand in the face of gang-related violence.
This corner store is in an area which is ranked as a top crime zone in Toronto, but as an individual over a decade I kept working to improve the atmosphere around it by creating 20 jobs for the local residents.
Meanwhile, obtaining the Real Estate License in 2008 for commercial and residential property sale has boosted my ability and confidence to look into bigger societal problems and find relevant solutions, while successfully I pushed forward my livelihood in between multiple jobs.
Without any guidance and support I established multiple convenience grocery stores and operated them very successfully without any major problems.
Also I was helping the less fortunate people in Regent Park and adjacent neighborhoods with affordable food prices and even gave them food at no charge. People realized my good intention and asked me to take a bigger step for helping people.
I have been involved as a volunteer in many community events and sponsored the local programs and events for patronization.
As a result, I have deep and direct relations with local residents, which over the time connected me with the people of the community and got me into their problems.
To be precise, affordability is a big issue, housing eats up the major portion of people’s income in the locality. Thus, affordable housing is a first priority.
Violence is mostly related to poverty and so is the gun violence.
Drug addiction is related to mental health and can be resolved with facilitation of proper medical care.
Old buildings have many problems and some are lower standard than third world countries, specifically bed bugs, water drainage and maintenance.
It is important that we involve the local police on day to day basis and keep them active and seek their help to reduce many problems. Educating people how to help police is also very important.
We have major ongoing residential development in our area; therefore, responsible accommodation and transition is a must.
Youth employment and engagement plan will be better designed through community consultation.
To promote local business and engage youngsters in small business for job training and employment services will be my priority.
Why I don’t want anyone suffering from gun violence and crime
I am the only candidate in Ward 13 who has first-hand experience about gang violence, drug abuse and day-to-day street crime rather than reading from newspapers and listening to people.
My store which is at the intersection of Sherbourne and Dundas, an area ranked Number 1 onward from 2006 for crime-related violence. In front of my eyes, people were stabbed, gunned down, beaten up and girls have been robbed by bad guys. I have also witnessed my store being robbed many times and received many serious threats.My store was broken into many times but I stood tall against this violence instead of running away. From this problem, I have made this location successful. Police Force is not the only solution; it rather needs community engagement, which I can say as a witness to it.
Background in Finance and Construction
I am the only candidate in Ward 13 who has background of construction and MBA degree in Finance, so I can understand better than anyone else how I will get involved in the City Hall for the betterment of my ward with regards to the residential development.
Regent Park revitalization is very important; I will make sure that phase 4 and 5 should be taken care of for smooth transition.
Youth Involvement and Training
I am the only candidate in Ward 13 who is most involved with the youth, especially when guiding them towards proper decision making. For example, I have been able to talk and prevent youth from buying tobacco at an early age without ID. I have helped many kids to leave this trail. Job availability is a big problem and usually small business entrepreneurs do not hire untrained people due to strain on business production. I have a good plan on how to give training to youth in small business and encourage them to open their small business by arranging small business loans. Police Services should also hire our local youth for community policing.
Make easier the availability of recreational facilities to youth as it can play a bigger role to reduce violence and improve mental health.
Regent Park revitalization includes all the commercial space that will be given to local businesses where they can start their business to eradicate unemployment.
Elders are the nation builders
Our elders are the nation builders of Canada as they have developed it to be a nation where we are living in peace and have open opportunities in each field. And a colored person like me can dare to run for city council. I have ethnic background where we don’t leave the seniors alone and spend our big resources for parents and elders. I want to maintain the same tradition and will focus on the problems of seniors, so when I will get old I can also enjoy those facilities.
They need time, attention, better living, access to all amenities and remain involved in the system.
Freedom to live, our Canadian culture
Canada is real free country where everyone can practice their religion and faith. The LGBTQ community has their right, but still need improvement for their health care system and available funding, I have an intention to bring them equal to all other Canadians.
Our Ward is rich in diversity and multiculturalism where religious places are essential for the community living. Thus, each community should be given a chance to build their congregation place for prayer. Although, the city cannot give tax payer money for denominational spending for any specific community, but they can take steps to encourage them and I will try my best to facilitate it.
There was only one Hindu temple in our ward which was demolished, although they got temporary place but have been struggling.
Islamic Resource Center is under process for the last 12 years and in every election it was a prime focus, but it has not yet been established. Payment has been made for one mosque to the city for building an Islamic School, but for many years it has been in file under bureaucracy.