Burlington Liberals acclaim their man – local lawyer Karmel Sakran wants the job as MPP.

By Staff

BURLINGTON, ON May 17, 2010 – More than 275 people packed the Seniors Centre in Burlington to see Karmel Sakran be acclaimed as the Liberal candidate in the October 6th provincial election.

With the federal election over the political junkies in the city can now focus on the provincial event. After that they are in for a long dry spell until 2014 when another municipal race takes place and, if feelings about the current council prevail – that event will be a snore.

A prominent Burlington lawyer and Chair of the city’s 2010-11 successful United Way campaign, Karmel Sakran is now the official Provincial Liberal candidate .

The small variety store the Sakran family operated on Ontario Street still serves the community.

The small variety store the Sakran family operated on Ontario Street still serves the community.

“Growing up in downtown Burlington on Ontario Street behind my late father’s little grocery store taught me the importance of community,” said 46-year-old Sakran, who arrived in Burlington at age 13. “From behind that counter, I saw how he treated people with friendship and respect and how they returned it in kind. It was a powerful message that will stay with me forever.”

Reflecting that early influence, Sakran has become well known in Burlington for his community involvement. A long-time Rotarian, former Regional Chair of the Halton Community Consultation Committees, he is a founding board member of The Carpenter Hospice.

Sakran is currently a member the Board of Governors at Joseph Brant Memorial Hospital since 2006 and member of its executive, chairing its Human Resource Policy and Compensation Committee. He is the board representative on the hospital’s Foundation Campaign Steering Committee whose target is to raise $60 million for much-needed capital re-development.

When it took a small amount to get the United Way over the top Sakran took out his cheque book while Timothy Brown and Len Lifchus, both of the United Way, looked on approvingly.

When it took a small amount to get the United Way over the top Sakran took out his cheque book while Timothy Brown and Len Lifchus, both of the United Way, looked on approvingly.

For Sakran, chairing Burlington’s United Way campaign, which raised a record $2.2 million this year, was an eye-opener. “People don’t typically think of Burlington as having citizens in need, but we do,” he says. “Many youth, families, and seniors benefit from the 44 social programs and services funded by the United Way.”

Seeking the Liberal nomination in Burlington is Sakran’s way of continuing to work for his community. Originally from Nazareth, Israel, of Christian Arab parents, he arrived in Canada at the age of 3 and moved to Burlington when he was 13. Sakran attended Central High School and later Assumption Secondary School, because “I didn’t make the football team at Central and at Assumption, I made the team”.

Sakran later attended the University of Windsor and, after graduating in law, articled for the Criminal Appeals Division of the Attorney General of Ontario in Toronto. He quickly returned to Burlington after being called to the bar.

“I always wanted to live and work in Burlington – that is where my heart is,” he said. “Burlington has been my home and my community for the past 34 years, and my goal is to win the nomination and then represent Burlington in the Ontario Legislature.”

For Sakran, “It’s time Burlington had a Liberal at Queen’s Park.” Conservatives have represented this riding for decades, he notes, adding that they have been less than effective in upholding Burlington’s unique heritage and its integral role as the hub between the GTA, Hamilton and Niagara Corridor.

“Burlington has a leadership role to play in what is happening around and inside its border and we can’t allow another four-year term to pass with us taking a spectator role. The Conservatives want to pave paradise with the mid-peninsula highway and, despite having a Conservative MPP for all this time, no provincial money has been secured for capital re-development of our hospital in the past 40 years.”

His social conscience also stretches beyond Canada’s borders. In 2009, he and two friends travelled to civil war-torn Sierra Leone to help two orphanages and a polio village. Since then, his small group continues to draw on local churches, service clubs and private donors for help, resulting in:

Shipping two large containers to Sierra Leone filled with tools, equipment, food and other essentials – not to mention hope.

Four Rotary clubs formed a steering committee to help develop 11 acres of land outside Freetown for a school, residences and playground for the orphan children, plus partnering with other agencies to establish a sustenance project to raise chickens and produce clean water.

Get ready to see a lot of this “official” photograph of Karmel Sakran

Get ready to see a lot of this “official” photograph of Karmel Sakran

Sakran also holds two annual Burlington fundraisers – one of which is the Wills and Powers of Attorney Event which has raised more than $55,000 for local charities since 2003. The other – a five-K run/one-K walk every Canada Day – raises health and wellness awareness, honours Canada’s Service men and women and raises funds for local charities.

A matrimonial lawyer in Burlington, Sakran recently founded Roseland Law Chambers, a group of seven sole-practitioner lawyers with wide experience across all aspects of the law. He is married and has 2 daughters; his youngest is 5 ½ years old.

The Progressive Conservatives have yet to nominate their candidate but Brian Heagle is said to be in the race and out there in the coffee shops making his case. Rene Papin chose to fall on his sword and withdraw from the race.

 

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