By Zoe Melnyk
One of Ryerson’s own will duke it out against Toronto’s infamous mayor at the polls Oct. 27.
Munira Abukar, a 22-year-old who graduated from Ryerson’s criminology program in June, is running against Rob Ford for city councillor in Ward 2 in the municipal elections. The Etobicoke native is focused on improving public transit, offering more support for students, health education and reducing unemployment.
“It’s a matter of bringing respect to those who live in the community and putting them first and putting their needs first and fighting for things we haven’t had,” Abukar said.
Abukar grew up in social housing and held a variety of positions at Toronto Community Housing, including vice-chair of the Resident and Community Services Committee and director of the board. These experiences give her first-hand knowledge about changes public housing needs, she said.
“I know the city needs to build affordable housing, we need to respect the people of the city and build better housing and build our houses up to code,” she said.
Abukar’s mother, Asha Mohamed, is hands-on with her election campaign. Mohamed said she works full-time making calls and canvasses neighbourhoods in support of her daughter.
“I’m proud of her and I know Munira, she can change Ward 2,” Mohamed said, adding that Abukar always wanted to be involved in politics.
Curtis Caesar, Abukar’s campaign co-manager, has known her for four years and is confident she’s a perfect fit for Ward 2.
“She only talks from the heart. She’s relatable, you know? And she’s also someone who has a strong work ethic,” he said. “I think you would know right away, when you meet (her) and hear her talk, and we trust she’ll resonate with voters.”
Abukar only recently found out she would be running against outgoing Toronto Mayor Rob Ford after he decided to drop out of the mayoral race to seek treatment for an abdominal tumour. He decided to run for Ward 2 instead, currently held by his brother Doug Ford. Abukar said she’s is not deterred by the high-profile candidate and wishes Ford a quick recovery.
Abukar said she thinks her chances of winning “are phenomenal,” but that she will continue to help the community even if she does not win.
“It’s about being in it for the community for the long haul. If not 2014, then we know 2018 is around the corner,” she said.