Oakville North Burlington Conservative candidate avoids the media - takes part on Chamber of Commerce event

By Ryan O’Dowd, Local Journalism Initiative reporter

September 14th, 2021



Oakville/North Burlington Conservative candidate, Hanan Rizkalla, has become the second candidate to opt-out of media availability.

Hanan Rizkalla – Conservative candidate for Oakville North Burlington

Rizkalla joins fellow Conservative candidate Emily Brown in not being available for interviews.

Both candidates failed to appear for climate change debates sponsored by the Halton Environmental Network.

The only public event that the Conservative candidates took part in was Chamber of Commerce events.

After some communication with Rizkalla’s campaign, they requested questions in advance and that they would relay some answers through email. Fulfilling such a request would not meet the standard the Burlington Gazette operates on, nor does it afford the opportunity to provide the information voters need. The Rizkalla campaign’s proposal would amount to little more than a press release.

Like Brown, Rizkalla’s sole interview takes place with a high school conservative program by and for conservatives. A tradition in Canadian elections is for media to interview candidates and set their different views.  The men and woman running for public office have a responsibility to let the public they want to represent know where they stand.  Almost hiding from media is a dangerous first step from becoming unresponsive to the wishes of the people who elected them.

Needless to say, these candidates have not been part of the media process – we are all the poorer for it.

Every other candidate the Gazette has reached out to in Burlington, Oakville/North Burlington, and Milton has been willing to be interviewed.

Rizkalla took part in a Chamber of Commerce debate with the other candidates in her riding and when climate change came up the Conservative candidates’ had little to say.  Oakville/North Burlington Green Party candidate, Bruno Sousa, was kind enough to point this out to those listening to the debate.

“I’ve participated in quite a few debates on the environment and climate change and I’ve failed to see the Conservatives show up for these meetings so I don’t even know how they have a proper climate action plan,” said Sousa.

Hanan Rizkalla – Conservative candidate for Oakville North Burlington who has chosen to avoid the media

Rizkalla noted the Liberals had failed to reach their target and touted the Conservatives’ ability to hit their target, which was criticized as unambitious. Rizkalla focused on the low carbon savings account which she describes as the Conservatives “incentivizing rather than punishing you,” and lauded the choices it would provide Canadians.

“Mr. Trudeau and the Liberals attempted to reduce emissions by taxing hard-working Canadians, families, and businesses. Mr. Trudeau and his team haven’t set a target to deliver. The Conservative plan will allow us to meet our target in 2030 by reducing the burden on Canadians while reducing emissions by using a low carbon saving account, the Conservative government will work with provinces to incentivize Canadians to adopt a greener lifestyle while giving Canadians a choice of how to best use that credit for their families,” said Rizkalla.

Rizkalla got into a dispute with Liberal incumbent, Pam Damoff, over a question regarding government regulatory systems. Rizkalla pushed for the need to appoint a minister of red tape reduction to assist businesses and to redress credential red tape facing immigrants (where Rizkalla proposes working with a task force to acknowledge immigrant credentials more quickly). Damoff implicitly suggested there were dangers with Rizkalla’s position when she referenced the Walkerton E. coli outbreak that killed 6 in May of 2000.

“We need to be smart when we’re bringing in place things to make it easier to deal with the government. When I hear about a minister of red tape reduction my mind goes to Walkerton and the people that died there,” said Damoff.

“What we have in hand right now is six years of the current Liberal government saying they are supporting people for red-tapping and immigrant credentials,” said Rizkalla. “What we are seeing is lack of physicians, lack of nurses, lack of resources. Proposing the right credentials for immigrants is one of the main areas we are targeting, this will secure the jobs back in Canada.”

Elsewhere Rizkalla reiterated the Conservative’s plans to secure Canada’s future and spark innovation.

“We are planning to overhaul the tax system to enhance the experience of all Canadians and small businesses. We’re going to unleash Canadian innovation by cutting all the income taxes in half of any new patented technologies in Canada.

“We will establish advanced research adjacency cutting edge with carbon capture, storage, electric vehicle development, pharmaceutical research and production, all that will support small businesses and enhance the taxation system,” said Rizkalla.

In Rizkalla’s closing statement she stuck to the party script as she had for most of the event.

Hanan Rizkalla – new to politics, forgets that media is very much a part of the political process in Canada

“It is clear the Canadian’s are looking for a government that has a recovery plan and as long as they have the will and desire to implement it, the Conservative plan, to secure Canada’s future, will deliver a stronger economy, more jobs, and the health of Canadians. It is not the time to divide Canadians with campaigns based on fear, we bring in with Canada’s recovery plan the positive hope Canadian’s are looking forward to,” said Rizkalla.

Rizkalla began her career as a physician focusing on public health, research, and cancer therapies.

Rizkalla lives in her Oakville/North Burlington riding with her husband and three children.

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1 comment to Oakville North Burlington Conservative candidate avoids the media – takes part on Chamber of Commerce event

  • perryb

    There used to be a joke that “the Conservatives could run a fire hydrant for election in Burlington and win” and once this was good enough. No longer. People expect more these days. (PS Mike Wallace was no fire hydrant — the exception that proves the rule.)