EDMONTON— Today, Arif Khan announced his candidacy for City Council, Edmonton Ward 5. If successful, he will replace long-time incumbent, Karen Leibovici, who has announced she will not be seeking re-election as a councilor.
This is not Khan’s first turn on the political stage. He ran a strong campaign in the last provincial election in the Riverview constituency, and was considered a front-runner by many until the last week of the election when the famous Wildrose Effect kicked in, driving votes away from the Liberals and lifting the PCs back into power.
“It was one of the most exciting experiences of my life,” Khan says. “I got a taste of it, studying the issues, meeting the people, planning to make a difference, and loved it. I was hooked.”
Given his background, it’s not surprising that Khan will be running on a fiscally-responsible platform for the Ward and the City. He points to the City’s challenges: paying for major new development projects now on the books, repairing roads and infrastructure, and dealing with over $2 billion in municipal debt. “Managing these challenges is going to take some creativity and discipline,” he says, “and some good teamwork among the new Council.”
But it’s not only managing finances that has him interested in municipal politics. “I really think Edmonton could be—and should be—one of the great capital cities of North America. It’s the northern-most major city on the continent in the wealthiest province in Canada. So if it can’t happen here, it can’t happen anywhere,” Khan says.
Khan sees enormous potential here, which could include packaging the City as a leading convention and business tourism centre. “We’re the jumping off spot for both the Arctic and the oil sands, which gives us an unique geographic position in the resource business market,” he observes. “Edmonton may just be the last great frontier city in North America. When the world is looking for opportunity, it’s looking for Edmonton. Despite the challenges of managing growth, I can’t imagine a better time to be living here, working here—or running for City Council here,” he says, wrapping up his thoughts about the City’s future.
As to his own future, Khan is circumspect. “I thought long and hard about entering the race. My wife and I discussed other options, provincial and federal politics. But neither of us wanted to spend our lives travelling, so municipal politics keeps us close to home with our friends and family. Municipal politics suits us perfectly right now—and we’re both looking forward to it.”
Khan had an open door policy in his last campaign and says he plans to keep it that way. He can be found at electarifkhan.ca, at Arif Khan on Facebook and @Arif4Ward5 on Twitter and invites all Edmontonians—and especially Ward 5 residents—to join him online as we head toward the election on October 21.
“I think this is going to be a heavily marketed election,” he says, pointing to a campaign T-shirt with the bold square ARIF KHAN logo in blue and green. “So our team wants us to be as ready as we can,” he says with a smile.
“Like our slogan says, ‘with Arif we can’. And I certainly plan to live up to that.”
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For more information contact Arif at 780.974.6280 between 2:00 and 6:00 pm today.
Arif Khan Fact Sheet
Married 18 years to his wife Nausheen. Two daughters (Sophia, 11 years and Sonia, 6 years).
Has lived in Ward 5 (Lessard Neighbourhood) for over 13 years.
Coached soccer in the community. Raised funds at Jamie Platz YMCA, Strong Kids Program.
Charity Positions held:
President of Autism Society of Edmonton Area (ASEA)
President of Rotary Club Edmonton Mayfield in the Westend
Board of Director – Sturgeon Hospital Foundation Board
Board of Director – Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation
Worked as an executive for Ford Credit Canada Limited for 23 years.
Held senior positions in marketing, sales and finance
Worked 5 years for Ford in their prestigious International Services Program
Currently is owner of a successful small business: Khan Communication Services (working with special needs children).
Graduated from McMaster University – Undergrad in BSc
Graduated from Bellevue University in Nebraska, U.S.A. With an MBA