A longtime Liberal is hoping New Westminster-Burnaby constituents are ready for a change.
New West resident Rozina Jaffer has been nominated as the Liberal candidate in New Westminster-Burnaby for the next federal election.
“I am honoured to have earned the trust of local Liberals to represent our community in Parliament, and to work with Justin Trudeau to deliver support for Canadians and keep Canada moving forward,” she said in a news release. “Canadians want leadership that will keep working to build a Canada that is healthier and safer, cleaner and more competitive, and more inclusive for everyone. I’m looking forward to working hard to earn the support of families throughout New Westminster-Burnaby, one conversation at a time.”
Having worked as a social worker and as a social justice lawyer, Jaffer said she’s familiar with issues like poverty and racism, as well as the barriers faced by people trying to access services. Her vision for Canada is to be an inclusive society where no one is left behind.
“That for me is one of the main reasons that I am running,” she told the Record/Burnaby NOW. “You know, the barriers we face and trying to make sure that all those barriers are addressed and trying to make sure that we really do have equity and inclusion, especially in this day and age as we are becoming more and more aware of all the issues that are there.”
The New Westminster-Burnaby riding is currently represented in the House of Commons by NDP MP Peter Julian, who has been a member of Parliament since 2004.
“I am more of a doer than a predictor,” she said, when asked if she thought she could unseat the longtime MP. “My answer to that would be, ‘Well, I have a chance if I work hard and convince people.’”
Jaffer said she will be working hard to convince people that she deserves a chance to represent the riding and will put forward a fresh, new voice in Ottawa.
“I think the issue is also having a seat at the decision table,” she said. “It’s having the influence and having the seat at the decision table that is also important so that we can make those things happen. That is ultimately the way I look at it.”
Jaffer is a longtime federal Liberal, having joined when the Toronto and District Young Liberals in her final year of high school back in the 1970s. She once served as policy chair for Vancouver Centre MP Dr. Hedy Fry.
As a longtime public servant, Jaffer said her involvement in politics had to be “a little bit on the side” because public servants aren’t supposed to get too involved in party politics.
A member of the City of New Westminster’s multicultural advisory committee, Jaffer also volunteers within the Ismaili Muslim community, providing support for the settlement of newly arrived Canadians, and is vice-president of Act2 Child and Family Services.
With Canadians having last gone to the polls on Oct. 21, 2019, a federal election must be held no later than Oct. 16, 2023. But pundits are predicting an election could be coming as soon as this fall.
When it’s called, Jaffer said she’ll be ready to hit the campaign trail – however that looks during the COVID-19 pandemic. For now, she’s connecting with people via email, phone calls and her website, www.voterozina.com.
Jaffer give high marks to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau for his handling of the pandemic.
“I am totally supportive of the leader,” she said. “For everyone, it is very challenging to do. For any prime minister it would be very challenging to do. COVID – these are challenging times to begin with, and I think they would be challenging times for anyone to govern through. I think he’s doing a great job. That’s why I am running.”