One of Ottawa’s youngest MPs in 2015 paves the way for more diverse voices

When Kamal Khera first came to Ottawa as one of Parliament’s youngest MPs in 2015, she was sometimes mistaken for an employee. Now some of his young volunteers back then are rising through the ranks.

Khera, who is seeking to retain her position at Brampton West for Liberals, says she actively encourages young people, and especially other young women of color, to get involved as their views help represent demographic reality in Canada.

“When I was elected in politics, I made it a priority to make sure I mentor … especially young women, and young women of various backgrounds in politics,” Khera said in a telephone interview with National Observer of Canada.

“We need to do better and we have to do more to get more young people involved in politics, to create that space, because that’s the only way we’re going to move forward,” he said, noting the progress made since his visit. Parliament Hill as a child and only saw older white men in the seat of government.

He said a youth council active in his constituency office has met once or twice a month for the past six years.

“Their loud voices, they push me and I make sure those voices are heard,” he said.

Brampton is one of the youngest and most diverse areas in the country, and Khera says the top concerns of the younger voters she encounters in the election campaign there include childcare, housing affordability and climate change, and that the Liberals have a track record and a plan to advance those priorities.

“One of the most exciting projects I’ve worked on was getting electric buses for my community in Brampton,” he said, referring to seed funding two years ago that provided 11 electric buses and the infrastructure to support them, and another $ 400 million in money announced earlier this year to make the city’s entire fleet electric in the coming years.

“Not only is it good for the environment, it has created green jobs in the community,” Khera said.

Khera says her speech to young voters is simple. Ask if they want to own a home, start a family, or fight the climate crisis in the next five years.

“And if you are a young voter who has answered yes to any of these questions, then the Liberal Party of Canada has a plan that we have come up with to do so,” he says.

“When I was elected in politics, I made it a priority to make sure that I mentor … especially young women, and young women of diverse backgrounds in politics,” says liberal Kamal Khera, who is running to retain her post at Brampton West. . . # elxn44

Khera says he wished the Liberals could have kept an earlier promise of electoral reform, another issue of particular interest to younger voters, but that such changes could not be made without finding more agreement between the parties.

“In the last six years, there are absolutely some areas where I wish we had made more progress, like electoral reform,” he said. “But he also assures us that we respect the parliamentary process, we respect the work of the committees that analyzed this issue in depth and, unfortunately, there was no consensus to get to where we had to go.”

Kamal Khera (second from right) with a group of health workers last month. Photo provided by the Kamal Khera campaign

A nurse by training, Khera responded to a call from the Ontario Registered Nurses Association for qualified non-practicing nurses to help when COVID-19 threatened to invade the healthcare system, and volunteered at a long-term care facility. local term during the first wave, screening healthcare workers weekly during the third wave, and vaccinating residents in pop-up clinics on weekends and nights earlier this year.

Brampton has been a particular hot spot for the pandemic, with a significant portion of its workforce employed in manufacturing and industrial jobs that cannot be done from home.

Morgan Sharp / Local Journalism Initiative / Canada National Observer

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