Rami Maassarani runs for Sydenham District Councilor

‘We’re all in this together’

Maassarani is focusing on affordability, sustainability, and community teamwork.
Credit: 
Supplied by Rami Maassarani

Rami Maassarani, Sci ’12 and MASc ’15, council candidate for the District of Sydenham, will focus on affordability, sustainability, and working together as a community if elected.

Maassarani initially ran for councilor because he feels he’s in a position where he can start giving back to the community.

“Just because I've been working for the municipal government for seven years now, I understand the impact that it can have on everyone's day to day lives,” Maassarani said in an interview with The Journal.

Maassarani said he believes people don't understand how much of an impact the government has and how it can be made better.

Regarding affordability, Maassarani spoke about the current housing crisis.

“People can't buy homes or can't rent homes […] the reason I use the term affordability is because it goes beyond that. The cost of living is going up, the cost of gas is going up, the cost of transportation is going up, and everything's just getting more expensive,” Maassarani said.

Climate change has made  sustainability a significant part of his platform.

“The term sustainability encompasses economical sustainability. It's hard to convince people to care about climate change if they can't pay the bills, so making sure that we help them that way [is important],” Maassarani said.

Maassarani explained how focusing on social sustainability is just as important, which includes working together as a community.

“The stability in our discourse has degraded pretty rapidly in the last little while, so [I’m] just trying to do what I can to help people work together as a community and help each other out.”

“Ultimately, all these challenges that I've described, that we're facing, we're only going to get through them and work together.”

These community challenges are especially relevant to students when talking about the housing crisis. Housing, rent-control, poor living standards, transportation, and the cost of groceries are affecting students on a daily basis, Maassarani added.

“There's such a big divide between students and people who live in Kingston.”

Having conversations about us all being in this together is a key point of Maassarani’s platform; he hopes to work with the University to bring everyone together if elected.

“It's about having these tough conversations, instead of just burying our heads in the sand and hoping for the best.”

Maassarani also spoke about how he’d approach the current shortage of physicians.

“Health care is certainly a provincial issue. But that doesn't mean that the municipality can't contribute to making that better […] After two years of the pandemic, [physicians are] burnt out and I can say this from experience because my wife’s a physician.”

“It's not about paying physicians more; it’s about making sure they're feeling appreciated by the community. The same thing goes for their support staff, nurses, administrative assistants, etc.”

He continued by stating strategies on how Kingston could improve its health care system.

“We can, for example, set up a 24-hour daycare that would allow staff that work night shifts to have somewhere to put their children […] or we could do a shuttle system for nurses who work long shifts.”

Maassarani also spoke about extracting more industry into the city, fostering entrepreneurship with Kingston post-graduate students, and supporting research in innovative fields.

“There's a lot of very interesting research going on [at Queen’s], and how do we actually support that? Can we create partnerships where there's real world applications to this research that can then be applied? I think that will be more of a catalyst for economic growth than anything else.”

“For transportation [in Kingston], there's a few ways to look at this one: looking at the infrastructure that we currently have and making sure that it's maintained to acceptable standards.”

Maassarani stated it’s crucial for students to have their voices heard and be accurately represented.

“Even though you're only here for four years, this [vote] does impact you a lot, so just make sure you go out and vote.”

“I'm very active in the community, I understand what the issues of today are […] I generally understand what students are going through so I can relate quite well to that. I think that I would be extremely well suited to represent them at City Hall,” he added.

Maassarani appreciates and understands people are not as engaged in the process of government right now because of a lack of public trust in bodies.

“I have the ability and skills necessary to actually explain the rationale behind decisions and open up to the decisions I will make […] This is my home, and I want to do everything I can to be better not just for the present, but also for the future.”

With files from Asbah Ahmad

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