TORONTO :  After suffering setback in the Federal election, the Liberal Party of Canada is in the process of rebuilding. The infighting and grouping has caused a serious harm to the party. Efforts are being made to stage a comeback and to “make it once more the party of the people.”

The Liberal Party is being made strong and effective enough to fulfill commitments and meet expectations of the people, particularly average Canadians. There are many good leaders but the search for the best has started. The race for true leadership for the party, people and the country has begun. People are being approached with promises, programs and plans.   

            Joe Volpe, MP, has also joined the race by announcing his candidacy for the leadership of the Liberal Party. The kick-off of his campaign was made on April 21, 2006, at Columbus Center , Toronto . The hall was full of supporters. From every corner, there was echo of `Joe, Joe’. People of almost all communities, particularly Greek and South Asian, were present. It was a show of strength, support, trust and confidence.

            Joe enjoys the support of powerful leaders, particularly Jim Karygiannis, PC, MP,  Scarborough-Agincourt, who has the habit of winning elections, fulfilling commitments and meeting expectations of the people. He has been serving the community for six consecutive terms. Wajid Ali Khan, who belongs to the South Asian community and has very fast gained prominence and recognition, too has demonstrated his full backing. There are many others and all very influential, powerful and backed by the people. Their presence on the occasion showed Joe as a heavyweight.  

            In his address, Joe Volpe told his supporters: “It’s because of you that the Liberal Party exists. You have made it into a nation building institution. So I come before you to ask your support for my bid to lead the party into the future. With your help, I want to lead it once again into government.”

            He said: “The Liberal Party has been the people’s partner in building Canada , in creating a valued citizenship and in making Canada relevant on the domestic and international front. That is why I am a Liberal! That is why the Liberal Party has to build on the experience of our members to build a partnership of growth, a partnership of opportunity and a partnership of equality.”

            Joe Volpe said: “My focus will be on rebuilding the party for the coming election. Liberals have put into place those programs that not only demonstrate care for our fellow citizens, but also come to define the country and impose obligations on government to develop our social safety net, our national identity, and our place in the world.”

            “I have been a member of the Liberal Party for over 40 years and have campaigned door to door as a Liberal in six elections. I have traveled throughout this country working hard to promote the ideals of the Liberal Party. I look forward to sharing with Canadians my vision for Growth, Opportunity and Equality,” Joe stated.

            He said: “Canadians now live the global experience. A full 20% of Canadian citizens were born outside the country and in the last 20 years some six million immigrants have come from 100 different countries enriching us with their traditions, their perspectives and their vitality as they integrate and become Canadians.”

            “We continue to profit from their talents, energies, ambitions and their unique perspective on Canada ’s role in the world. Their experience, our experience, not left/right philosophies, has given us a sense of not only who we are, but who we must become,” he added.

            Joe said: “The country is changing. We can defend this status quo or foster our ambitions and fight. The choice is ours. I made up my mind: I want to defend what our seniors have accomplished for us. I want to defend the future of our children by promoting economic prosperity. I want to promote social harmony among all: old, new and future Canadians.”  

            The leaders expressed confidence in Joe and said that “Joe Volpe has understanding of the people and cares and speaks for them. He can lead Liberal back to the people and serve them. The Liberal Party was and is a hope for the country.”                     

BIOGRAPHY: Joe Volpe is the Member of Parliament for the Toronto , Ontario , riding of Eglinton-Lawrence. He was first elected to the House of Commons in 1988 and has been re-elected in all subsequent elections. In the 37th and 38th Parliament, Joe Volpe served as Canada ’s Minister of Citizenship and Immigration and as the Minister of Human Resources and Skills Development. Presently, he is the Official Opposition Critic for the Treasury Board.

            During his parliamentary career, he has served as Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Health, as well as Chair of the Standing Committee on Natural Resources and Government Operations, and a member of the Standing Committee on Industry, Science and Technology.

            Additionally, he was Chair of the Standing Committee on Health. Under his leadership, the committee completed a comprehensive study of natural health products in Canada and an extensive study on the state of organ transplantation in Canada .

             Before entering politics, Joe Volpe was a school administrator. He holds a Master of Education degree from the University of Toronto . He is married and has four children.

            APPEAL: Shahid Hashmi, Chairman, Canpak Chamber of Commerce, and a known community leader, who was also present on the occasion, has appealed to the South Asian community, particularly Pakistani community, to take greater interest and active part in events which can help them build credibility and join the mainstream.  This is extremely important for their recognition, stability and success. They must focus on positive contribution and credibility. He was disappointed to see only a few Pakistanis on the occasion. He said that they remain absent but keep complaining of not getting attention and help. How can they expect this without active participation and positive contribution? Double standard is also harming them, he added.

            PAKISTANI COMMUNITY: The Pakistani community members, no doubt, are themselves responsible for their failures because of poor response. One of the main reasons for this posture and action is fear due to exploitation by mostly so-called community leaders. These leaders focus only on their vested interests and ditch, cheat and fool the members. Most of them are self-proclaimed community leaders and were never supported and promoted by the community. They literally enjoy no support, trust and confidence of the members.

            Ghalib Iqbal, Consul General of Pakistan in Toronto , since his posting to Canada is trying his best to promote good leadership and restore the trust and confidence of the members. He has been appealing to them to never miss any opportunity of joining the mainstream and coming closer to other communities for getting recognition and success. 

 ATTENTION: The Pakistani community too lacks true leadership and needs proper attention of the leaders and the government. It needs to be saved from exploiters and swindlers. Over ninety percent of the community members are highly skilled, educated and talented. They are actively and greatly contributing in the progress of the country and promotion of the society.

Only a very negligible percentage is involved in criminal and anti-social activities. They are very loving, caring and helpful too. This is the fact and reality about this community, which has been misunderstood and underestimated. They are not harmful but harmed and hurt ones. Their fear, disappointment and frustration are based on reasons and experiences. Only a closer look can clear this picture and bring them closer to others.

            POLITICAL CRISIS: The people of Canada have been badly disappointed and hurt by the political crisis which has led to many crises. They understand that only a true leadership---based on sound character, positive contribution and vision---can help steer the country out of the crises. The political crisis is the result of infighting, grouping and power tussle. The attention has been diverted to vested interests, instead of the people. This is becoming very clear and understandable. This must stop before further loss is caused.

             Immigrants are very much affected and disturbed by the uncertain situation. They fear difficult times because of expected anti-immigrant policies and actions. Deportations are increasing their fear and creating tension. The present government was considered anti-immigrant and is allegedly proving this. It must take the immigrants into confidence instead of allegedly creating panic and fear. The immigrants need attention and protection and not discrimination and deportation. Those who deserve must be given refuge.