Mariam Manaa: a young women with significant community experience in a political setting seeking the Liberal nomination

News 100 redBy Pepper Parr

June 1st, 2021



Mariam Manaa said she knew the day she sat in on a House of Commons committee meeting that the world of politics was definitely for her.

Manaa Miriam H&S

Mariam Manaa

Manaa had worked as a summer intern with Oakville North Burlington MP Pam Damoff; it was a four month gig but it was enough at the time to learn just what a politician does.

Mariam returned to school, she had been attending high school in Oakville where the family lived. She continued her studies in community planning and keeping busy with the Muslim Association of Canada work she and her Mother did.

The family, Mom and Dad and two brothers came to Canada when Mariam was eight years old. They lived in the Gaza part of Palestine. While Mariam doesn’t remember all that much she does know that it was a trying time for the family.

The Israelis had occupied the country and then withdrawn but kept a very tight security ring around Gaza.

The parents wanted something better for their children and immigrated to Canada.
Her Mother worked in a bakery, her Dad worked as a handyman and the children went to school.

It was a huge emotional and psychological change for the family.

“Sitting in that House of Commons committee room with my notebook in hand listening intently to everything that was being said I couldn’t believe how fortunate I was” said Manaa.

A few years later Mariam applied for a job with Burlington MP Karina Gould who was also a Cabinet Minister. She was hired and spent more than three years with Minister Gould.

In her mind Mariam said she was in basic training to become a politician. She knew she was a Liberal – and she fully understood the different levels of responsibility that the federal politicians had and the role the provincial government played in the lives of ordinary people.

“I wanted to be doing things that made a difference in the lives of normal people.

“Education was really important to me; health and the environment mattered to me.” Manaa said she learned something new everyday she was on the job.

“I had gotten myself to the point where I knew I needed to pick up additional skill sets.
I was always involved with the Muslim community and got a chance to work for the Muslim Association doing public relations work.

Manaa with empower sign

A community advocate from an early age Mariam Manaa now wants to represent Burlington in the provincial legislature.

Mariam now wears the traditional Muslim hijab but didn’t wear it during her high school years.

“My cultural views and learning more about what it really meant to be Muslim were aspects of my life that I grew into when I had completed high school.

Respecting the cultural and religious part of her community led to Mariam, working with the Muslim Association, to holding a pop-up vaccination station where Muslim women could be vaccinated in private. Muslim women do not display their bodies the way western woman do.

Getting vaccinated meant lowering the burqa sleeve which is something that is just not done in a public setting.

“We got a great turnout from the women in the Muslim community” said Manaa.

She has come to learn that one of Canada’s strengths is its diversity.

“People respect those that are different in the way they dress and the lifestyle they live  – but they are accepted and invited to take part in the fostering and developing of the community.

“Giving back is such a fundamental part of who my family is – we see the news on television at night and know how terrible it is in the land that I came from – where I was raised as a child.” Mariam spends her days on the telephone talking to people one-on-one.  I try to get to between 30 and 40 people each day building support for my nomination.”

The Burlington Liberal Association will decide on June 26th who the Liberal candidate will be.  It is not certain yet if the event will be virtual.


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4 comments to Mariam Manaa: a young women with significant community experience in a political setting seeking the Liberal nomination

  • Dandachi

    Le Canada est un grand pays riche par ses femmes et ses hommes surtout par sa diversité.
    Exemple cette jeune femme qui veut rendre à son pays d´acueil sans nier ses origines .ceci montre sa transparence avec toutes ses qualités.
    Je ne suis Canqdien ,j´aurai aimé voter pour elle .
    Bonne chance Mariam Grandeur pour le Canada

    Dr M.Dandach i France

  • Hussein Hamdani

    Mariam is a rising star. She has succeeded in every position presented to her.
    She is honest, hard working, sincere and energetic – qualities necessary for a life of public service.

  • Blair Smith

    A very articulate and focused young woman. I think that she brings a wonderful sense of community, both geographic and cultural, and individual purpose to her candidacy. I wish her the best. I would love to see her debating the current incumbent. Don’t hide your head in the sand with this one Jane. Oops, sorry that’s ostriches isn’t it – not chickens.

  • Lynn Crosby

    Mariam is a very impressive young woman and a great candidate. I love what she did to help Muslim women get vaccinated. Wishing her all the best in her nomination run. Thank you Gazette for interviewing her for us.