1. Leah Gazan
2. Uzoma Asagwara
3. Adrien Sala
After being asked to run in an election for about 10 years by community members, Leah Gazan, Member of Parliament for Winnipeg Centre, took steps toward Parliament Hill in 2019 – not because she wanted to be a politician, but because she answered the call to action.
Prior to her political career, Gazan worked as an educator, advisor and media contributor, making her a passionate community member and activist for nearly three decades.
“We are (at) a critical juncture,” Gazan says. “We are in the midst of a climate crisis and what I call a ‘corporate dictatorship’ that puts the rights of corporations over the human rights of peoples.”
Gazan’s work has centred around human rights, and she is currently focusing on Motion 46: Guaranteed Livable Basic Income, which would offer reliable financial support to all Canadians who need it.
“In the riding of Winnipeg Centre, you see that growing inequality on the ground: people living in poverty, growing numbers of people becoming unhoused and unsheltered,” Gazan says. “Poverty is the most violent human-rights violation.”
Gazan says the implementation of CERB showed that the Government of Canada has the money to support all Canadians with financial needs, but they “lack the political will” to implement long-lasting financial support.
“I just felt like we needed a strong voice in Ottawa to speak truth to power,” she says. “As a long-time grassroots advocate, I felt that it was a necessary time, and that is exactly what I have been doing since being elected.”
Gazan continues to use her political positioning to amplify the voices of those silenced by political institutions. She views her role not as a position of power, but as an opportunity to be a liaison on the journey to change.
Published in Volume 76, Number 12 of The Uniter (December 2, 2021)