High-profile Mississauga politician receives Canadian Immigrant Award

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Published August 17, 2022 at 10:24 am

Mississauga Centre MP and federal Transport Minister Omar Alghabra has been named one of Canada’s top 25 immigrants by a national publication.

Alghabra, 52, is joined on Canadian Immigrant magazine’s 14th annual Top 25 Canadian Immigrant Awards list by national men’s soccer coach John Herdman, actor Paul Sun Hyung-Lee (CBC’s Kim’s Convenience), Canada’s chief statistician Anil Arora and Toronto MPP Bhutila Karpoche, among a host of others the magazine describes as being an inspiration to all, not only other immigrants to Canada.

The Top 25 list, presented by Western Union, recognizes immigrants for making Canada a better place. It’s the only national awards program that celebrates the achievements of inspirational Canadian immigrants, the magazine says.

Winners are chosen from coast to coast from diverse cultures and demographics, and different backgrounds and industries.

Alghabra took to social media to express his gratitude.

“It’s an honour for me to be a recipient of the Top 25 Canadian Immigrant Award,” he said on Twitter. “Immigrants have helped shape the Canada we know today, and we are thankful for all their valuable contributions.”

Awards officials say those on the list were selected after an extensive nomination, judging, shortlisting and public online voting process. Hundreds of nominations were received, from which 75 finalists were chosen.

The 25 winners were selected based on a combination of online votes and judges’ merit scores.

“We are so pleased to celebrate such amazing immigrants for the 14th year,” said Canadian Immigrant magazine publisher Sanjay Agnihotri. “This year’s winners have shared their amazing stories of their journeys to Canada, and they are all truly inspiring examples of immigrant success stories.”

The full list of winners can be found on the magazine’s website.

Mayor Bonnie Crombie congratulated the Mississauga MP on a post to Twitter, saying Alghabra “has been a champion and advocate for Mississauga at the federal cabinet table as Minister of Transport and I know he will continue to do great work for our city in the years to come.”

Alghabra became transport minister after a January 2021 cabinet reshuffling and was given the nod by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau in the wake of last fall’s federal election to continue in the high-profile post.

He has represented Mississauga Centre in Ottawa since 2015 and occupied the positions of parliamentary secretary to the minister of foreign affairs (2015-2018) and to the minister of international trade diversification (2018-2019) prior to being named minister of transport. 

The longtime Mississauga Liberal, considered one of the most likeable MPs in Ottawa, earlier served as MP for the former Mississauga-Erindale riding from 2006-2008. 

Alghabra, who among others has come under recent fire for the sometimes chaotic scenes of long lines and cancelled flights at Pearson Airport in Mississauga, told insauga.com earlier that becoming a member of parliament would’ve been nothing more than a “wild dream” when he first arrived in Canada 33 years ago as an international engineering student.  

He was only 19 at the time, a few weeks away from turning 20. 

“It was Sept. 20, 1989, the day I landed in Canada and my cousin picked me up at the airport,” recalled Alghabra, who was born in Saudi Arabia and attended university in Damascus, Syria before making the move to Canada to complete his education. “Next thing, we were living in a two-bedroom apartment on Markham Rd. in Scarborough with three other guys.” 

That same cousin accompanied an emotional Alghabra into Rideau Hall in Ottawa last fall for the swearing-in of the cabinet, a short journey at the end of a remarkably long one.  

“I was walking with a sense of pride, humility and good fortune,” Alghabra said at the time.  

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