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“Canadians sacrificed so much to protect my right to vote”: refugee votes in first federal election


TORONTO – A well-known Syrian refugee who became a famous chocolate maker in Nova Scotia after voting for the first time in a federal election.

Tareq Hadhad posted a video on Twitter Monday when he said it was the first time he had voted in a Canadian federal election.

“This is a great time and I was waiting for it and I will cherish this memory forever,” he said in the video.

“I am absolutely proud to know that my vote is making a difference. It is so gratifying and I voted because Canadians sacrificed so much to protect my right to vote. So I encourage you all to come out and vote as soon as possible. Thank you Canada for giving me this incredible moment.

In an interview with CTV News Channel on Tuesday, Hadhad said he couldn’t sleep the night before the vote because he was too excited.

“It’s absolutely amazing to know that I have this incredible privilege,” he said. “We shouldn’t take this for granted, because people all over the world suffer from this privilege. “

Hadhad and his family arrived in Canada in 2016 after bombs destroyed his chocolate factory in Syria. Hadhad began rebuilding his chocolate business in Antigonish, Nova Scotia, just weeks after arriving in Canada and launched the business under the name “Peace by Chocolate”.

Peace by Chocolate hires newcomers to Canada and local residents to create the treats that are then shipped around the world. A portion of every purchase goes to “peacebuilding projects” around the world and in Canada.

“I am here not only to contribute, but to create jobs and be a part of this incredible nation of which we are proud,” said Hadhad.

Hadhad became a Canadian citizen in January 2020 and voted in the Nova Scotia provincial election earlier this summer, but this is the first election he has been able to vote at at the federal level.

“When I came to Canada, I swore that I would use this freedom (to vote), because it’s not just my right, it’s my privilege,” he said.

As to who he voted for, Hadhad did not disclose which party but said he voted for a platform that cares a lot about climate change and immigration.

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