SASKTODAY.ca staff reached out to the candidates in all of Saskatchewan's ridings with a universal questionnaire. We will be publishing these results in order they were received.
Name: Rokhan Sarwar
Running for: Liberal Candidate for MP Saskatoon-Grasswood
Profession: Retail Business Leader
Currently residing in (city or neighbourhood): Stonebridge, Saskatoon
Previous political experience: I have volunteered for Liberal Party but most of my experience is working with community-based groups like the Open-Door Society of Saskatoon and the Boys & Girls club.
Who is your political hero?
I look up to politicians like Barack Obama who put the needs of the citizens ahead of personal popularity by passing bills like the Affordable Care Act.
What inspired you to enter the election race?
I was inspired to enter the election race to give back to the community and to our country; fight for middle class, families and our vulnerable seniors. I strongly believe in the liberal plan to continue to move progressive policies forward which will benefit all Canadians.
What topics are most important to you in this federal election?
The issues most important to me this election are finishing the fight against COVID and ensuring our healthcare system recovers from an incredibly demanding 18 months. Other key issues are continued real action on climate change, economic recovery that includes small businesses and increased family supports including seniors as well as families with small children.
Are you concerned about the short campaign timeline for this election?
No, we need to get back to work quickly and work on the policies which matter the most to Canadians once we hear from our citizens with a clear and strong mandate.
What supports, if any, do you feel are needed to help businesses and residents with the aftermath of the COVID-19 pandemic?
The liberal government has supported businesses and all Canadians immensely throughout the pandemic. I believe strongly in the policies outlined in our platform for post pandemic economic recovery such as support for tourism, hospitality and other sectors affected by COVID-19. Creating new and innovative jobs as we transition to a greener economy and the continuation of our family support and support for seniors.
What, if any, agricultural federal programs and initiatives do you feel are necessary to help support farmers and ranchers in this year's conditions?
A re-elected Liberal government would triple funding for cleantech on farms, including for renewable energy, precision agriculture, and energy efficiency. We will also work with provinces, territories, and farmers—including Indigenous and young farmers—to update business risk management agriculture programs to fully integrate climate risk management, environmental practices, and climate readiness.
Is there an issue that people are focusing too much?
All issues are important and vital as we move forward to finish the fight against the pandemic, fight climate change and create more jobs.
Is there an issue that doesn’t get enough attention?
I believe that there are some parties that are not paying enough attention to the crisis of climate change which poses an existential threat to all of us. The Liberal platform is the only platform that lays out a clear path of action to address the issue of climate change!
Why did you choose to run for your particular party?
I strongly believe that the Liberal party is the most inclusive party and strongly addresses the needs of all Canadians. The Liberal party’s commitment to support the middle class, support families and seniors, fight climate change, fight for indigenous rights, and ensure we have a strong economic recovery is why I chose to run as a Liberal candidate.
What is the biggest issue facing your party’s chance at success?
I believe our party will succeed as Canadians reflect and look back at how the Liberal government was there for all Canadians throughout the pandemic. The Liberal government did not leave anyone behind and will continue to support as we move forward
How will you engage and encourage young voters to participate in this election?
More than ever before the choices made by the next government will have lasting effects for the young voters in Canada. I think by engaging with voters around the issues that are most important to them such as climate change and economic recovery will increase their participation in this election.
What is your party’s leader’s biggest flaw?
I think I can grow a better playoff beard than him.
Once elected, your job is to represent your entire riding. How do you plan on representing individuals who didn’t vote for you?
I am open to working with all the constituents of the Saskatoon-Grasswood riding regardless of which candidate they support in the election. I believe that the key to helping our community move forward out of this pandemic is by ensuring all of the voices are heard and no member of our community is left behind.
What informs your political stance? What books, publications, relationships or experiences?
I enjoy reading the news everyday from both local and national sources like Global, CBC, CTV, CKOM and others. I was influenced by many of my professors at the University of Saskatchewan.
What local project or service would you advocate for more federal spending?
I believe the healthcare system in our community needs more funding and support. Funding should be tied to real, achievable and sustainable goals like reducing wait times, increasing access to family doctors and increasing access to mental health supports.
What is something people don’t know about you?
I enjoy watching the NBA and I think Lebron is better than Michael!
What are your thoughts on the issue of homelessness in the city?
Homelessness is a multifaceted issue that does not have a simple “fix”. I believe we can and should do more to help vulnerable people in our community. More services need to be available to individuals struggling with mental health challenges, addiction and employment challenges.