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Arab Community lauds naming Alghabra as transport minister


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#Arab community in Canada hailed the decision made by Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau, to appoint MP Omar Alghabra as Transport Minister, noting that this appointment underlined the important role played by the Arab community in Canada.
Born into a Syrian family in Saudi Arabia, Alghabra immigrated to Canada at 19 to study engineering in Toronto. The Mississauga MP racked up years of experience on tricky issues before his appointment Tuesday January 12,2021 to the transport file.

“Mr. Alghabra deserved this prestigious position. I know him for a long time and he has a long contribution in helping the Arab community, especially the Syrian refugees,” Head of the Arab Community Centre, Fathi Abu Farah, told MEDIAinTORONTO. “We are proud Canadians and appointing Alghabra is a clear evidence that working hard opens all doors and opportunities to everyone in this great country,” he added. “Transport is a very important sector and needs a lot of work and development and we believe that the new minister will success in his mission.”

For his part, PR Manager Canadian Arabic Orchestra, Omar Najjar, said that appointing Omar Alghabra is a message for every Arab and immigrants that anyone can achieve anything. “I know Omar for years. He is truly a proud hard working Arab Canadian, who sincerely believes that serving Canada and Canadians is not only a duty, but a pleasure and an honor. He is a valued friend of mine and the Canadian Arabic Orchestra,” Najjar said. “We can see ministers in the federal government from different ethnicities and in Canada Canadian is a Canadian, whether he is born in Canada or an immigrant”.


Professor Waguih El-Maraghy, the Director of Intelligent Manufacturing Systems (IMS) Centre at the University of Windsor and a member of the Canadian Engineering Accreditation Board, also lauded the promotion of Omar Alghabra as a transport minister, underlining that such a choice reflects Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s trust in Mr. Alghabra’s abilities and his long political career.


Writer and Researcher in the Palestinian affairs, Samir Jabbour, congratulated Alghabra, wishing him success in his mission. “I received this news with pleasure encouragement as I know His Excellency Minister Omar and his scientific competencies and rich practical experience in this field,” Samir Jabbour said. “He can use his experience to improve this sensitive and important sector, especially at this difficult time when the transportation sector is facing a crisis caused by the pandemic,” he added. “I consider the appointment of the second Canadian of Arab origins to a federal ministerial position as an open invitation for assigning more government positions to competencies.” Alghabra is inheriting the portfolio, which covers railways, marine safety, aviation and more, at a time when travel is restricted and new pandemic regulations are in force, and just a year after rail blockades in solidarity with Wet’suwet’en hereditary chiefs caused a supply chain problem and a challenge for a government that has claimed its relationship with Indigenous people is a top priority. The Canadian researcher asserted that Arab community is rich in an abundance of scientific and economic competencies that enable it to contribute to the development of different areas in the Canadian society. Alghabra had served in the House of Commons as an opposition MP from 2006 to 2008, working stints as a consultant and a visiting professor at Ryerson University before returning to Parliament in the 2015 landslide that gave Liberals a majority.

“I have known Omar Alghabra since 2003-2004. He is an honest, neutral and wise man,” President of the Nile Association of Ontario, Dr. Mohamed El-Halwagy told MEDIAinTORONTO. “Omar held several parliamentary positions and he has the required experience. This is a big job and I believe he can handle it,” Dr. El-Halwagy added, noting that Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau, was right in selecting Omar in this position. “He is the most suitable person for this job and he will fulfill it cumulatively”.

During Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s first term, Alghabra served as parliamentary secretary to foreign and trade ministers, handling Canada’s consular affairs file for several years. He was involved in managing cases such as the 2015 kidnapping of John Ridsdel and Robert Hall in the Philippines—which culminated in their beheadings as Canada refused to meet ransom demands—and the 2017 rescue of Joshua Boyle, his American wife Caitlin Coleman and their three kids from a Taliban-affiliated group.

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