Dr. Waji Khan (Green Party) was born in North York, Ontario and later raised in Scarborough after his parents emigrated from Pakistan to Canada in the 1960s. He attended the University of Toronto where he graduated with a Bachelor of Science degree in 1997 and began his studies in Dentistry. Khan later joined the Canadian Armed Forces in 1998 and has served as an army dentist in several postings across Canada. After leaving the Forces in 2007, Khan relocated to Kingston where he began practicing private dentistry, later opening Cataraqui Woods Dentistry in 2012.
What made you decide to run in this election?
“Ultimately, the main reason I decided to run was because I used to be a Liberal, for like around 30 some odd years. And after being the fundraising director for the Kingston and the Islands Federal Liberal Association, which helped elect Justin Trudeau, I became quite disillusioned by the fact that there were so many statements and promises made… that weren’t delivered,” Khan said, noting the lack of follow-through on electoral reform, as well as the various “scandals” under Trudeau’s leadership, such as the Aga Khan affair and the SNC Lavalin affair.
“I became increasingly disillusioned with the Liberal Party and the lies that we’re being told. And so what I’ve said in interviews many times is that I’m concerned about the conduct and actions of the current Liberal government, and, having been a retired military officer in the regular forces, I felt it’s my duty to serve my country once again, and go out there and speak about the issues that are important to our country, and also, from an accountability perspective, call out the government for promises that have been made, and allow the electorate to know that these are the things that were promised to us, and we’re not seeing them,” he concluded, adding in that, after the birth of his daughter, he’s become increasingly concerned about the state of the world being left to her and her generation.
What is it about the Green Party that made want to be a part of it, and represent them at the federal level?
“So, having been in cognitive dissonance, within my membership in the Liberal Party, I started looking for parties that were more synonymous with my political feelings – that being good fiscal management. And initially, I’d looked at the Conservatives. However, they did have a few issues, from the socially progressive aspect, which hindered me from joining them, like acceptance of LGBTQ community, things like the stance on abortion, which in my opinion, is a 1970s issue. Things like conversion therapy. And so, I felt that with the Green Party, I was finding a party, which is going to be fiscally conservative and get our country back on track to prosperity. But at the same time, also socially progressive, and having good plans for things like the environment, things like LGBTQ rights, things like social issues that we’re dealing with in respect to affordability of housing, cost of living, cultural issues, like getting real truth for real reconciliation with the Indigenous issues, like having universal pharma care, universal childcare, and universal long-term care… So that’s when I kind of found a bit of a home with the Green Party, and it fit well, I like the platform, and I put my name forward to run.”
Do your views align with those of your party leader? How well do you think you could work with that person?
“So, with respect to party leadership, you know, every party has its own internal ramblings, let’s be honest here, right? I’m pretty sure right now that there are a number of liberals who are disenchanted with Justin Trudeau for basically, in a very dictatorship-like way, calling an election without consulting the House of Commons with a confidence issue, right? Unlike previous minorities, which have fallen on a confidence issue, this was basically a prime minister who decided single-handedly that he wanted to have an election for his own ego, or because the polls were saying you can sneak out with a majority, or something. So, I’m pretty sure that lots of liberals are unhappy with Justin Trudeau, they just don’t vocalize it. Unfortunately, with the Green Party, there’s been a lot of internal wranglings that have made their way forward into the media… but I can assure you, as a candidate and a party member, that we will get our internal house in order, in due time.”
In your opinion, what are the top three most critical issues needing to be addressed at the federal level?
- Getting out of this COVID-19 pandemic, from an economic and healthcare perspective.
- Affordability of housing and the general cost of living.
- The environmental crisis that we’re currently in, and ensuring that we do have a world that is going to be able to provide for more human beings in many ways, shapes, and forms.
In your opinion, what are the top three most critical issues for Kingston and the Islands you plan to address?
“Kingston doesn’t exist in a silo in Canada, Kingston and the Islands exists in a relationship with the rest of the country, so…”
- The environment
- The cost of living and affordable housing
- Getting out of the COVID-19 pandemic and ensuring that the economy and healthcare are a priority.
How do you plan on providing better representation for Kingston and the islands?
“So, part of providing better representation is telling people the cold, hard truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth. And I think in many cases, our current MP hasn’t been providing the truth for people,” Khan said, noting that his party has tried to be involved in as many town halls and debates as possible while campaigning. He also pointed out a number of issues he feels current MP, Mark Gerretsen, has not told “the whole truth” about, such as support for guaranteed basic income, and improvements in the number of Indigenous communities with active boil water advisories.
“So, in terms of asking, ‘How can we do things better?’ we’d go out and tell the truth, and the whole truth, and nothing but the truth. There’s certain elements of why misleading comments have been made. And if you or I were to do that, my friend, you get fired. And [Gerretsen]’s been doing that and he deserves to be fired.”