Election night with Yasir Naqvi

By Jared Davidson – 

It was crowded in the Carleton Tavern the night Yasir Naqvi’s 10-year run as Ottawa Centre’s MPP came to an end. As the results rolled in, it became quickly apparent that the riding chose Joel Harden of the NDP and Yasir’s term was at an end, even before the nominee had arrived at his own election day party.

By the time Yasir arrived, thanks to the speed of the new voting machines, the race was decided. With 32 per cent of the vote, Yasir was edged out by Joel Harden’s 46 per cent share.

And so, as the MPP took to the tavern’s stage, the mood was distinctly subdued. This was a crowd whose party had suffered a historic loss, and yet they raised their glass to the man who had brought them there. Yasir stood beside his wife and in front of numerous red campaign signs, and he spoke to the news of the evening, to the Progressive Conservative majority that was only just being confirmed by the televisions at the bar.

His primary message, though, was more personal. He stood before the crowd, thankful for their support, but also for their friendship.

“Thank you for making me do better every single time,” he said. “I’m a better human being because of you.”

Yasir Naqvi at the Carleton Tavern on election night, June 7. Photo by Jared Davidson

As the applause faded and he migrated through the crowded bar, his supporters thronged. The tone was congratulatory. Yasir had lost, true, but for the throngs in that tavern he would forever be a winner.

“Yasir has been an incredible MPP,” says Kitchissippi Ward Councillor Jeff Leiper. “He as always fulfilled that promise he made to us to be an MPP first.”

He spoke of Yasir’s attention to progressive issues within the ward, something he hopes will continue under Joel Harden. Others, like MP Catherine McKenna, highlighted Yasir’s support of community investment and infrastructure, as well as his stance on climate change.

“For sure I’m disappointed,” said Catherine of Yasir’s loss. “Yasir Naqvi really delivered.” The minister listed light rail, affordable housing, footbridges, and his commitment to progressive rights among his accomplishments.

But on election night, Yasir was more interested in talking about the impact the community has had on him. He reflected on his 10 years in office, representing the riding and the ward.

“I’ve grown up a lot as an individual,” he says. “The community had taught me a lot.”

Since taking office, Yasir has married and started a family. His life, as he points out, would not be the same without Ottawa Centre. And though it is unclear what is next for Yasir, in his usual upbeat manner he told the media of his plan to make pancakes for his family the next morning, now a free man. Still, there’s a note of heaviness to his demeanor. He is sad to go.

“I want the community to continue to grow,” he says, pointing to the new campus of The Ottawa Hospital and increased zoning diversity along the LRT corridor. 

“I’m a firm believer in democracy. People are always right and this is a part of that,” he says when asked for his feelings on the loss. There is no doubt that Yasir will be missed by many who respected his work in the community for years to come.

 

A plan for care and opportunity

Submitted by Yasir Naqvi, MPP Ottawa Centre –

I could not be more proud to serve a community like Ottawa Centre, that has helped advocate for change not just in our community, but across the province. Change as large as giving municipalities the tools to lower speed limits in neighbourhoods or reforming Ontario’s land-use planning appeal system (and replacing the OMB), to expanding the Dovercourt Recreation Centre, building a new Broadview P.S. or investing in an addition at Elmdale P.S.

Ottawa Centre is a diverse and welcoming place where we strive to make sure everyone gets the care and the opportunity they need to succeed, and I believe that is reflected in Ontario’s 2018 budget. In last year’s budget, we announced OHIP+ to provide free pharmacare to children and youth aged 24 and under beginning January 1, 2018. That program filled almost a million prescriptions in its first month of operation. This year we are expanding OHIP+ to cover seniors aged 65 and over beginning in August 2019. Once implemented, 1 out of every 2 Ontarians will have full and free prescription drug coverage. But we aren’t stopping there. In this year’s budget we are announcing the Ontario Drug and Dental Program for anyone without drug coverage. This program will cover 80% of eligible prescription drug and dental expenses up to a maximum of $400 for one person, $600 for a couple, and $700 for a family of four. This means that all Ontarians will have some level of access to drug and dental coverage. We know that child care affordability has been an issue for families in our community. In 2016, we committed to creating 100,000 new child care spaces. In the 2018 budget, we are making an investment to provide free licenced child care for all children aged 2½ to when they enter full day kindergarten. This will save parents an average of $17,000 per child. The investments in the 2018 budget will make Ottawa a hub for medical care innovation. This budget allocates $1.8 billion for the design and construction of The Ottawa Hospital’s new Civic Campus in our community — to improve the quality and capacity of our regional health care services. We have completed the expansion at the Cardiac Life Support Services at the University of Ottawa Heart Institute — an investment of almost $200 million.

Finally, the budget also includes a $105 million investment in the Children’s Hospital of Eastern Ontario to help children and youth with special needs receive better care. We are continuing to make the critical investments in our regional transit and transportation infrastructure. Stage 2 of the Ottawa LRT will build on the Trillium Line and the Confederation Line by adding 40km and 23 new stations.

Yasir Naqvi’s summer book picks reflect work life, and engines

Yasir Naqvi
MPP Yasir Naqvi

By Ted Simpson – 

MPP for Ottawa Centre, Yasir Naqvi, is keeping his summer reading fairly rooted in his work and his book recommendations will appeal to the political junkies out there. That being said, it’s worth pointing out that he does often take a break from serious reading to share a book with his three-year-old son, Rafi.

“His favourite book is The Big Book of Engines, and we have spent many hours learning all about the different characters in the exciting world of Thomas the Tank Engine,” says Naqvi.

Being such a busy person, it’s hard to believe Naqvi can find the time to read. He pops up at just about every community event in the ward, he even ran this year’s Hintonburg 5K, with a very respectable time of 21:11.

For his personal choice, Naqvi is currently enjoying Paikin and the Premiers, by Steve Paiken. Paiken is a journalist who has been covering Queen’s Park for TVO for many years. The book is a mix of Paiken’s interviews and personal perspectives on Ontario’s premiers from Bill Davis up to Kathleen Wynne.

“It captures the trajectory of various economic and social issues in Ontario over the last 50 years‎from Premiers of all three major political parties, and I have found it to be a really interesting read,” says Naqvi.

Next up from the MPP is more political history that he picked up at Elmdale School’s Bookfest this spring: The Morning After: The 1995 Quebec Referendum and the Day that Almost Was by Chantal Hebert. The title being fairly self explanatory, Herbert sought out 17 key political leaders from that time to create an in depth account of the ‘95 referendum.

“I am looking forward to learning more about what was going on behind the scenes during this pivotal period in our country’s history,” says Naqvi.

This post is part of our KT summer reads issue. Read all of our other profiles right here.

The race for Ottawa Centre

June 12 is the day that Ontario residents will be heading to the polls to cast their votes for MPP for Ottawa Centre. We asked the area candidates what they would do for Kitchissippi. Here’s what they said in their own words:

 

Rob Dekker, Ontario Conservative candidate for Ottawa Centre

The residents of Kitchissippi face several of the same concerns as other communities where growth is taking place. As the MPP for Ottawa Centre and a member of a PC Government I would partner with the community to ensure that the following are done:

– Ensure Residents and Business Owners can count on having affordable energy. For businesses and homeowners energy one of the highest expenses paid. We need to ensure businesses can afford to stay open and drive economic stability in the area. Homeowners also need to know that there is going to be stability in the cost of energy for their homes.

– Easy to use and fast Transit and transportation, moving people daily to and from work for recreational activities is an expectation in Kitchissippi, a PC government is committed to assisting in transit expansion. The growth of transit will be supported by our government with affordable funding and sound planning.

– Most important for the residents of Kitchissippi, growth and development must be a trilateral conversation where the development is being requested involves the Community, City and Developer to discuss together the application. The appeal process MUST be fixed, but it doesn’t mean throw it away.

These three concerns along with a Section 37 compensation review will be key issues I will work on, on behalf of residents and business owners in Kitchissippi.

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Jennifer McKenzie, Ontario NDP candidate for Ottawa Centre

It has been a pleasure to have served the people of Kitchissippi over the past eight years as your school trustee and as school board chair.

I have worked tirelessly through some very difficult circumstances to secure funding for the rebuild of Broadview Public School. In fact, I will be at the school board today to make sure that the funding that was missing from a recent provincial announcement is secured.

Consultation on Ontario Municipal Board reforms would receive my immediate attention. The OMB has tripled the amount of developable farmland around Ottawa by overruling a city council decision in 2011. The Liberals have been promising reforms for 10 years and nothing has changed.
I would coordinate the next phase of the Ottawa River clean-up with municipal and federal partners to ensure that our impact on the environment is reduced and make sure that we have sustainable practices in Ottawa Centre and across the province.

There has been a lot of waste and mismanagement at Queen’s Park in recent years. As your MPP, I will bring the same integrity and commitment to the job so that the needs of Kitchissippi, and indeed all of Ottawa Centre are fully met.

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Yasir Naqvi, Ontario Liberal candidate for Ottawa Centre

I love knocking on doors in Kitchissippi’s vibrant neighbourhoods, and meeting local residents. It lets me hear directly from neighbours about what is important to them and see the positive difference we are making firsthand.

Parents want to make sure we continue investing in their children’s success. Full-day kindergarten, smaller class sizes, and the complete rebuild of Broadview are giving our kids more opportunities to succeed.

Broadview also highlighted the continued needs of local schools. Working with school boards and trustees, I have proposed expanding the use of Education Development Charge so school boards have more flexibility to renovate and rebuild urban schools.

We need to make sure kids walking to school or playing on their street are protected. Lower speed limits are a key part of it. I will work with community associations, neighbours, and others to reduce residential speed limits to 40 km/h and to 30 km/h in school zones to protect our kids and make our streets safer.

And we would protect the Ottawa River. We completed Phase I and committed $65 million in our budget for Phase II. The Conservatives and NDP did not include any funding for the Ottawa River in their platforms. A Liberal government will get the job done to clean up and protect the river.

I hope that with your support on June 12, we can build on our achievements and keep building a better community together.

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Kevin O’Donnell, Ontario Green Party candidate for Ottawa Centre

Let me set aside the Green Party’s provincial platform of “Jobs, Kids and the Environment” for a moment. I have one specific goal for Kitchissippi – slowing down traffic on our local streets. My goal is to lower the default speed limit on local, residential streets in Ontario to 30km/h. Instead of having to beg City Hall for traffic calming measures, one at a time, year after year, a 30km/h limit will make streets safer for everyone.

Sadly a lower limit won’t work on its own. Adequate enforcement is always an issue. To ensure compliance I would also empower cities to use photo-radar to enforce the 30km/h residential limit. Discreet and mobile photo-radar stations will be effective in catching the dangerous drivers who put the rest of us in danger.

I expect some readers will balk at a politician mentioning “photo-radar”. But I simply have no patience left for drivers who put other drivers, pedestrians and bicyclists at risk by speeding. Our local streets are for everyone. It’s time to take them back and make them safe.

It’s time for a safe 30km/h speed limit on our local, residential streets. I hope you will consider voting Green on election day.

Have you ever watched a child bike on the street in front of their home and wondered “is that safe?”

Is there any reason cars for cars to go 50km/h on the last 200m of a trip home from work? I say no. I would rather slow this traffic down and make streets safer for everyone, everyday, year around.