Syed Jaffery, the People’s Party of Canada (PPC) candidate for Toronto Centre, spoke with On the Record to discuss issues that matter to students.
While living in Toronto Centre for the last 10 years, Jaffery has volunteered with several political campaigns and worked alongside local politicians. Although he is not as popular as the other candidates, he says that his ideas are new and refreshing.
“If you go for the underdog, you have new ideas and then if you have the right leadership and the right person to represent, you can do wonders,” said Jaffery.
To learn more about Syed Jaffery, you can visit www.peoplespartyofcanada.ca/syed_jaffery.
This interview has been edited for clarity and flow. Ryerson University is undergoing a name change amid reckoning with its name’s link to Canada’s residential schools. Accordingly, some refer to Ryerson as X University.
On The Record: School tuition is being increasingly hard to manage and as a result, many students are finding themselves in serious debt. In what ways will the PPC help students with this issue?
Syed Jaffery: Tuitions are going up and providing reimbursements and loan supplements is huge at this level. I propose that we bail out our students who are an integral part of the community. They’re the future of Canada. They’ll never be out of debt [if no action is taken in regards to tuition debt] and then they will always be kind of stuck. They will be constrained by the loan, so I understand this is a very big issue. What the People’s Party of Canada should do, and I think will do, is create subsidies, scholarships, loan programs and grants.
OTR: Ryerson University is in the process of changing its name amid the reckoning of Indigenous residential schools. In what ways will you be helping Indigenous communities in Toronto Centre?
S.J.: What the party is willing to do, or personally what I am willing to do for Indigenous communities, is to see what their vision is for the Indigenous communities in Toronto. In what ways can we help them? To select a name [for Ryerson University], obviously we’re going to have a panel. We can have [Indigenous people] come in and have a dialogue with the community and have them educate everyone. The most important thing is to have a dialogue. A strategy of communication.
OTR: During this year’s election, we have seen a dramatic increase of racism, misogyny and violence. Where do you think this came from?
S.J.: I think that diversity and immigration is not handled properly. So, it boils down to education. Indigenous education, philosophy, and diverse education should be taught. A lot of things could have been prevented if more people were vigilant, and society was better equipped with mental health [resources] as well. So it also boils down to mental health education because, again, mental health is not just one issue. That’s my take.
OTR: What is your favourite restaurant in Toronto Centre?
S.J.: Well in terms of my favourite restaurant, it does change. But I do love Red Lobster so I usually just go find a Red Lobster chain in the area. For breakfast, there’s a joint called Johnny G’s that is pretty good. That’s my breakfast area.
OTR: If you were to have a super power, what would it be and why?
S.J.: I wish I could make people understand things better. It takes me a good half an hour to an hour to explain things. I wish I could just have that power where they get the message. Communication is not easy. I am working on it. So let’s say if you don’t understand something, it will already be in your brain so understanding something will come instantly to you.
OTR: What message would you like to give to our students at Ryerson University?
S.J.: I would say combine all aspects of education, don’t just specialize in one. Focus on technology, engineering, [artificial] intelligence, psychology, philosophy, because when you combine all these, you become a better human. Learn all these aspects of knowledge, not just one, because you’re not getting educated just to get a good job; you have to become a good human being. And to become a good human being, get educated in all the aspects of life.