Today marks the 1-year anniversary since the October 19, 2015, election. A year later, I am busy in Ottawa working with my colleagues who all share this election anniversary. As the Liberal government and I mark one year since the election and reflect on what we’ve accomplished, let’s remember the principles that drive us: positive politics, real change, and above all, helping our communities.
Moments of reflection are sometimes hard to come by as an MP. I have a busy schedule. I travel back and forth weekly between Kitchener and Ottawa, meet and listen to constituents, and celebrate the many events that bring our community together time and again.
Sharing a moment with an inspiring leader.
Reflection and gratitude are an important practice, especially as we collectively and individually mark this milestone. Over the weekend, I took some time to reflect on how much my life has changed. A year ago, I was a candidate asking the people of Kitchener to believe that a Liberal government and I could do better. A bit more than a year ago, I was just a pharmacist who wanted to give back his community that had given me so much. Twenty years ago, I was a young man looking to build a life, and chose to move to Kitchener from Mississauga to start a pharmacy.
From day one, I realized that this was where I wanted to be. There was something special about Kitchener. As I met my neighbours and patients, made new friends, and watched Kitchener grow, I learned more about this community.
I learned about its storied past – stretching back long before my family arrived here and before Canada was even a nation. I learned about a history of economic success, as industries rose and fell, but where new entrepreneurs always reappeared to revitalize and renew. I learned about lines of connection between the communities in our Region and about how strong we are together.
I learned about the diverse cultures that weave the fabric of our community together and the vibrant pockets of life in our neighbourhoods. So many different expressions of multiculturalism live in our streets – from churches, to mosques, to restaurants serving foods from around the globe, to the week that Oktoberfest takes over every year. Every day you can meet and learn about a new part of the world.
What a wonderful place to call home. Little did I imagine that one day I would sit in the House of Commons and hear these words:
“Raj Saini, Honourable Member for Kitchener Centre.”
I still get a thrill. Who wouldn’t?
Enjoying the Oktoberfest Parade with volunteers last year.
Even though a lot has happened since I first arrived two decades ago, what I will remember most is that night in October.
It was a long campaign. I know I only survived those weeks because of the countless volunteers – you know who you are – that lifted my spirits. The best times were seeing my volunteers, talking with them, and going out with them into the Kitchener community. Every day they reminded me why I was doing this. No matter how tired I was, no matter how much more had to be done, I always told myself: you owe it to them, and to the community that gave you the opportunity to rise.
When I won, I was jubilant. Humbled. Honoured. What an incredible night! But I realized that from now on it was about more than just me and my story. It was about more than the volunteers who gave so much to see me succeed. I had a new responsibility. Now it was about our community. It was about Kitchener.
A year later, I’ve worked hard to help this community and the people in it. And I never forget that moment in October. Yes, a lot has changed, but it’s also stayed the same. Now, when I am tired and I have one more meeting to attend or person to see, I tell myself once again: you owe it to them and to your community.
Thank you so much to all of the volunteers who celebrated with me last year. Thank you for your time, your words, your support, and most of all your belief that we were doing something worthwhile.
Thank you to the people of Kitchener. From the moment I won that election, my job changed from being a candidate to being your representative. I am so grateful for the opportunity to serve the amazing community of Kitchener Centre here in the heart of Waterloo Region.
I am proud to serve you as a member of this government, and I look forward to the years to come.
Please join me at the first annual Election Victory Celebration on Friday, October 28. I hope to see you at the Fork & Cork Grill where we celebrated our joint efforts in achieving this victory last October.
Liberal Party Caucus of the 42nd Parliament.