By Mark Squibb | Vol 7 No. 8 (April 25 2019)
Community volunteer Hasan Hai says that he just wants to make Mount Pearl - Southlands — and the province — a better place.
“I’m a guy who cares. I care a lot about people, I care about the community and world I live in,” said the father of three.
Hai is mostly known for spearheading community projects, such as the popular Mer’by calendar, a project two years running in which average guys pose in sequined mermaid tails, body glitter, and flower crowns to raise money for charity.
“It’s become such a big focus of my life. I’ve actually lost money doing community work, and I’m just looking to take it to the next level,” said Hai, who is also the Founder and President of the NL Beard and Mustache Club and Chief Kindness Officer with Operation Kindness.
He views politics as an avenue to effect change.
“I’ll be the first to tell you, I had no aspiration for politics, “he confessed
“I wanted to make an impact in the community, and the last couple of years my community work, community building, and some of the activism I was doing, was leading me down that path. But I enjoyed the life of a private citizen. I didn’t want that level of public scrutiny. But as I realize I had more and more ability to affect change, I also realized that I was very quickly going to hit a wall as far what I could do. You know, I’m just a guy. I have an ability sometimes that when I say ‘Hey, lets do a thing,’ people tend to listen, and they’ll join me in some wild things and we can have a great impact, but again, I’m just a person on the outside trying to affect change.”
He said that stronger communities, more affordable childcare, and more care for seniors, are some of the changes he would like to see in the near future.
“I don’t want to be a politician; but I certainly want to be someone who has a seat at the table and can impact meaningful change,” he said.
He told The Pearl News that he chose the Liberal Party because he felt they best aligned with his value system, but that he’s not interested in partisan politics.
“If you vote for someone else and if I were elected, I’m still the person that would want you to call me. If you’re in trouble, if you have something that you need, you give me a call. l’m here for the people of Mount Pearl - Southlands. I have a proven track record of community building and engagement. And the other thing too is I’m not here to bicker or argue with someone else, I’m here to solve problems. Let’s find solutions, lets work together, let’s reach across party lines, and if there’s a solution that’s best for this community or for this province, let’s laser focus on what that is, and I’ll work towards that solution.”
Shortly after announcing his intention to run in the election, an ethnically motivated Facebook group titled “Who is Hasan Hai?” popped up online.
The group implied that Hai has not been open about his past and questioned what activities he may have been involved in before moving to Canada.
“All this was, it was a very thinly veiled attack, or smear campaign, from a group that is really attempting to discredit me based solely on my physical appearance and my ethnic background,” Hai summarized. “I’m 41. They asked what I was doing 20 years ago. Well, 20 years ago I was in college working part-time at a Subway. It’s not that it’s hidden, it’s like, how do you make that level of information public? One need only ask the question, I’ll tell you what my whole live has been. There’s some really dull, uninteresting things, as most of them were growing up… Effectively, my entire career, you can Google it. It’s on Linkedin. So that was never a question. For them to throw out ‘What’s he hiding?’ it’s without even asking a question. So they, instead of asking a question, created a Facebook page.”
The site has since been removed from facebook.
Hai said he’s not focused on whether ethnic or racial discriminations play a role in how people vote, but instead choosing to focus on being the best candidate he can be.
“People are going to vote many different ways for many different reasons. And really what I’m focused on is having conversations and letting them know who I am as a person,” he said.
“All I can focus on is best demonstrating why I’m the best candidate, and let the voters make up their mind.”
He also noted that whichever way residents vote, they’re likely to be in good hands.
“There’s a couple of great candidates in this district. It’s a really tough choice for most voters because you’re picking from good people, who genuinely care about the community and have a proven track record of doing hard work.”
The election is scheduled for Thursday, May 16.