Liberals lose Don Valley East in major upset

Toronto Star – May 2, 2011

With the last federal elections of May 2, 2011, the Conservatives have wrested the seat of Don Valley East away from the Liberals in a major upset. Conservative Joe Daniel unseated incumbent Yasmin Ratansi, who had widely been predicted to be a shoo-in. Daniel earned 36.7 per cent support compared to 34.5 for Ratans. Mary Trapani Hynes had 25.1 per cent.

The mood was sombre at Liberal Yasmin Ratansi’s post-election party as the first polling stations reporting results showed her in second place. Don Valley East has been a Liberal stronghold for most of the last two decades. Immigrants account for 61 per cent of the riding’s population and many newcomers have encountered difficulty getting their foreign credentials recognized here. Yasmin Ratansi has represented it since 2004 and in the last election she won with a comfortable margin of more than 6,000 votes. Tanzanian-born Ratansi is an Ismaili Muslim and was Canada’s first Muslim woman member of Parliament.

Muslim mayor of Calgary, Canada gains attention for his vision of the city

News Agencies – February 10, 2011

While the Toronto-based DiverseCity project critiques the lack of ethnic and religious diversity in Canadian politics, Canada’s first Muslim mayor, Naheed Nenshi, has received a great deal of attention because of his urban vision of the city. Born in Toronto, raised in Calgary, Nenshi is the son of Ismaili Muslim immigrants from Tanzania. Much has been made of this, but in fact what sets him apart and makes him important is what he says, especially about cities. Nenshi has connected with Calgarians who desire a more urban city, not endless sprawl. His talk about civic engagement and “politics in full sentences” resonated with an electorate tired of the usual left/right squabbling.

Aga khan becomes honorary canadian

Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper has conferred honorary Canadian citizenship on the Aga Khan, making the billionaire spiritual leader to 15 million Ismaili Muslim followers worldwide only the fifth person to be so honored. Aga Khan lives in France.

The Prime Minister and the Aga Khan met  for a foundation ceremony for a cultural centre, museum and park to built on the site by 2013. The Aga Khan expressed his hope that the cultural edifice, particularly the collection of artifacts from Islamic history, would serve as a beacon for his sect’s moderate take on Islam and its “search for knowledge and beauty.” Ismaili Muslim Canadians include Rogers CEO Nadir Mohamed and Senator Mobina Jaffer.