Candidate for Laurier-Dorion
I was born and have lived for much of my life in Montreal, in the neighborhoods of Ahunstic-Cartierville and Parc-Extension. I speak French, Greek and English fluently. The area of Laurier-Dorion holds special memories for me, as my grandparents resided there most of their lives, and most of my weekends were spent there as a child. As an adult, I lived in Parc-Extension for a few years, where I fell in love with the neighborhood all over again. My parents are of Hellenic heritage; my mother, a teacher, is second generation Greek-Canadian, and my father immigrated to Canada from Greece when he was 16 years old. He subsequently became a mechanical engineer and has been the president of his own consulting firm since 1984. My father’s immigration story is something I am very proud of. My parents prioritized education in their children and taught us that education is what elevates a society. My mother especially, as a teacher herself, taught me that education should be free for all, as education should transcend economic class and provides a path to true equality among people. As a child of an immigrant father, I am familiar with the problems faced by immigrants and also with the richness and benefits that immigrants have brought to Quebec and Canada. I grew up in a supportive community, proud of its cultural, religious and linguistic heritage.
Following university studies in psychology (BA Concordia, MSC Queens), I completed an MSW at McGill, and since 2013 I have worked as a professional social worker in the Quebec health care system. I also have a successful private practice writing reports for mandates of inaptitude and private curatorships. In this role, I have developed an expertise in the issues and laws affecting older adults, including those with cognitive impairments, as well issues affecting their caregivers. I have served the public as a social worker, but I always have had a passion for social justice and empowering people to meet their potential and fight against poverty and food/housing insecurity. I also have extensive intervention experience with crisis centers and other mental health support services (such as Face à Face, the West Island Crisis Center and CAVAC).
In the summer of 2016 I took on the task of coordinating The Caregiver Navigator project which offered information and emotional support to caregivers in Montreal. I was responsible for the development and implementation of small local support groups for caregivers. This population is at high risk for isolation and stress-related illnesses. In that role, I recruited and trained the volunteers as well as the caregivers who benefited from the program. In the course of this project I was also one of the psychosocial team leaders for the emergency response team, responsible for welcoming Syrian refugees in the winter of 2016, and irregular asylum seekers in the summer of 2017. In both those operations, I was involved on the front lines, dealing with the newcomers and supporting the social workers that were intervening with them. I gained invaluable insight into how our society is structured, the resources that are available to refugees, and what is lacking in the support system for newcomers and immigrants, in their transition to Quebec society.
I am running for the NPDQ in Laurier-Dorion because I believe strongly that the current government and the other parties do not offer a path forward for Quebec in the context of Canada. I have spent all of my life in or near this riding, which has a large population of recent immigrants and a significant population of older adults. I would like to represent all the citizens of Laurier-Dorion but also contribute my knowledge of the problems of immigrants and older adults to an NPDQ administration. We are all aware of the problems with the current management of our health care system. We also know that we have an aging population, and because of my professional background I know the weaknesses of the current support system for older adults and caregivers. I would like to be a voice in the National Assembly for this vulnerable population and for the needs of immigrants and refugees. Current policies do not go far enough to support our population’s most vulnerable. The elderly and their caregivers deserve better, and Quebec needs immigrants to ensure its future. I believe that I and the NPDQ can make a positive difference in dealing with these issues.