Liberal Mariam Manaa: direct, focused, fully aware of what is ahead of her if she wins.  She will be there to listen. 'That's the job'

By Pepper Parr

May 28th, 2022


Mariam Manaa, Liberal candidate for Burlington in the June 2nd provincial election

The Gazette interviewed Manaa when she was seeking the Liberal nomination – it was a contested nomination and she came out on top.

Other than the Chamber of Commerce event there was never a chance for the public to hear all the candidates – that was the result of the Progressive Conservative Party deciding that their candidates would not take part and instead rely on Premier Doug Ford’s coat tails to get elected.

Candidate Manaa listening

Our interview with Mariam Manaa yesterday gave us a look at some of the experience she has in the world of politics and public service.

As a young woman she was invited to be part of the Youth Council that Oakville North Burlington Liberal Pam Damoff created.  Young people had the opportunity to gain some self-confidence and learn just how a Member of Parliament works.

She was seen as a smart cookie by Damoff who hired her to work in Ottawa as part of her team.

Manaa picked up a lot of really solid background on the processes that are involved in getting legislation passed. She also picked up a lot of the lingo used by the political set. “I worked on the hill for a period of time” said Manaa.

When that opportunity came to an end she was then asked by Burlington Member of Parliament Karina Gould to do some case work for her in Burlington.  Work with a member of Cabinet is a big deal for up and coming politicians.

She spent two years with Gould.

This is as good as it gets when getting ready to seek public office.

In our conversation with Manaa she didn’t say all that much about the Liberal policy for the province – what she talked about was the campaigning – that essential door to door work – meeting people and listening to their concerns.

Every politicians will tell you they love going door to door – some are much better than others at it.

Candidates meet on the door step: NDP Andrew Drummond, Liberal Marian Manaa

Early in the campaign Manaa and the team with her knocked on a door that was opened by the NDP candidate Andrew Drummond.

He was as surprised as she was

During the last long weekend Manaa said she knocked on 4000 doors during the three days.

I asked her a question that a gentleman should not ask a woman – how much weight have you lost during the campaign.  She came back with “I don’t know if I lost any weight but I can tell you I have muscled up quite a bit.”

Manaa is direct, focused, empathetic, fully aware of what is ahead of her if she wins.  She is not a policy wonk – she is there to serve.

How will you serve the people of Burlington if you are elected.  “I will do what I have learned to do – listen to what they have to say.

“When people get to an MPP’s office they are usually at the end of their rope.  They have tired everything else and often as a last resort they visit the politician and see if they can help.

“That’s the job” said Manaa

She stresses that if she is elected she will see herself as being elected to serve all the people of the city.

And with that, a quick handshake, and she was off to knock on new doors

This is an election where two of the candidates are new to the election game.

Progressive Conservative Natalie Pierre and Liberal Mariam Manaa have never served as elected officials and this is their first election.

There are three fringe candidates. New Blue candidate Allison McKenzie, Green Party candidate Kyle Hutton and an Ontario Party candidate we have not heard from

Andrew Drummond has never served; this is his third attempt to get elected as a New Democrat.

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5 comments to Liberal Mariam Manaa: direct, focused, fully aware of what is ahead of her if she wins.  She will be there to listen. ‘That’s the job’

  • Leslie

    I’m not suggesting that any one candidate is more qualified than the other, but the barometer for “real world experiences” means different things to different people. A look at Ms Manaa’s Linkedin page tells me she’s been putting in the work and trying to create those “grass roots connections” to the community. It’s tough for any party to find strong candidates, and given the awful turn politics have taken in recent years, it’s encouraging to see anyone, especially young people, give it a shot.

    I have no allegiance to any party, so I view these candidates with an equal lens and weigh them against my values. Accountability counts for a lot. If we’re scrutinizing candidates here, I wish Ms Pierre would explain to voters why she did not appear at the CoC Candidates Meeting. Or even just complete the Region’s questionnaire that was sent to all candidates in each riding: . I’m especially interested in the last question. Ted, I believe you were canvasing on her behalf – maybe you can help?

  • Ted Gamble

    Stephen speaks for many including me.

  • Joe Gaetan

    “She stresses that if she is elected she will see herself as being elected to serve all the people of the city”. That would be refreshing.

  • Stephen White

    “This is as good as it gets when getting ready to seek public office.”

    Pepper: you can’t be serious?? This is what qualifies as “real world experience? Sorry, but in my universe this doesn’t even come close to constituting the type of real life, professional experience I expect from a prospective MPP.

    Andrew Drummond has worked in the private sector for several years. Nathalie Pierre has been an administrator at Sheridan College. Allison McKenzie has been a nurse. These people actually have some knowledge of what it is like to live and work in the real world. They have gravitas. And Ms. Manaa’s real world experience? Sorry, but working in Karina Gould’s constituency office doesn’t provide the kind of experience profile I expect from my MPP.

    Ms. Manaa unfortunately demonstrates an inherent problem with the Liberal Party, both provincially and federally They keep recycling insiders, aides, special advisors and consultants, and thinking that because they “know the ropes” of the political process this somehow makes them better qualified. What I want from a candidate is someone who has depth of experience outside the political process, who can look at issues through a different lens, and who can bring a fresh perspective and unique insights from whatever field of expertise they may have worked in. I want someone who understands citizens’ problems, can stand up and articulate them forcefully if needs be, and someone who won’t be cowed or bullied by political bosses.

    The Burlington Liberals have tried this route repeatedly: Paddy Torsney, Eleanor McMahon, Karina Gould. In future, they might try nominating a candidate who actually has some grass-roots connection with the community, not to mention some real world work experience and credentials outside of managing election campaigns.

  • Carol

    Thank you at long last! Great to have a woman and a visible minority person seeking an important position and showing her understanding of what serving the public really means.