The riding of Willowdale is as diverse as the residents that are represented. If Justin Trudeau and his once-mighty Liberals have any chance of forming a near-future government, they would need to do well in this working class area as this was a once safe riding for them.
The riding is as diverse in people with a large Chinese, Korean, South and West Asian population. The much utilized Mel Lastman Square, the Toronto Center for the Arts are some of the hallmarks that are in the riding.
The imprints of Canada's immigrants, especially the affluent Iranian-Canadian population, is everywhere - as owners of the most sought after buildings as well as business interests such as the Future Shop, a onetime immigrant success story, and the Hakim Optical chain.
The riding has sent representatives to Ottawa that are larger than life. Since its inception in the late 1970s, it has been alternatively represented by the Conservatives and the Liberals. It's noted MP was now Bay Street lawyer, Jim Peterson, known as the young lawyer who helped Mikhail Baryshnikov defect from the Soviet Union in the mid 70s. He was elected under the Trudeau comeback government in 1980.
Then Martha Hall Findlay - a courageous woman leadership candidate - was parachuted to the riding after the resignation of Peterson in 2006 as part of Stephen Dion's so called Dream Team. Then, in 2011, the riding was won by the now backbench Conservative MP, Chungsen Leung, who once contested the riding in 2000. Again - this riding will determine if the Liberals are on the rise or not and its important a new voice is given a chance.
If the spirited nomination race for the Liberal nomination is any indication, the Liberals are far from the dead. The chance to represent the party in 2015 opened up in earnest as the Iranian Canadian community leader, David Mousavi, announced his intention in front of a massive multicultural crowd that is a true representative of Canada. The diverse crowd are the exact population the often elitist should emulate if it has any chance to govern Canada.
The 34 year old first time candidate is a surprisingly brilliant candidate, eloquent speaker and determined community leader that the party membership should take advantage of. The York University JD / MBA graduate is not an accidental candidate but a well-meaning and thoughtful leader.
He is the Vice-President of Family Day Care Services, Co-Founder of the Greater Toronto Multicultural Business Network, Vice-President of the Iranian Canadian Congress and Chair of Downsview Services for Senior.
At his nomination, by the time he finished thanking all the people that have endorsed his candidacy - it seemed nobody knew any of them as they were not household names but instead stalwarts of community activism on the ground. There was no Bill Graham, George Smitherman or Martha Hall Findley from the past as were present in the Toronto Center riding nomination race mere days ago.
"I would like to thank my mother, who helped me tie my shoe laces, helped me with my homework, and is now helping me with my campaign. I couldn't ask for a better mom in the whole world" he remarked as his mother looked on from afar. He laid the foundation to his campaign by imagining an immigration system that is fair and transparent.
On immigration, he continued, "Our message to the people of the world should be this: If you believe in our values of freedom, democracy, and multiculturalism, and you want to help build this society, then we have a spot for you in our Canadian family - and it is not in the front seat of a taxi cab" he continued.
In his immaculate English, humble yet visionary ideal and the beautiful Farsi heard throughout the room, I could not help but wonder what a great MP David Mousavi would be. Simply put, he is a representative of the next generation of diverse Canadian leaders we desperately need.
This was the same young leader who sat next to me at a leadership training not too many years ago and it comes as no surprise to me where he is now headed.
I am very excited to see just how far he will go.