The room quickly filled with excited volunteers ranging from teenagers to seniors. Some were seeing each other for the first time in months.
They had gathered in Liberal MP Jim Karygiannis’s campaign office on March 30 to cheer him on as he officially launched his eighth run for the Scarborough-Agincourt seat in the May 2 federal election.
He strode into the room, pausing for photographs and asking volunteers about their health and their families.
Karygiannis, a Greek immigrant, has been the MP for Scarborough-Agincourt since 1988, winning with 57 per cent of the vote in the last election.
Karygiannis told his supporters his campaign would focus on both local and national issues, including the budget, elder care and immigration.
“What’s his name again?” he asked sarcastically. “Jason Kenney, yeah. That’s the guy, that’s the guy. My favourite minister.
“He cut $53 billion back from settlement services. He took something that was working and they dismantled it.”
Welcoming new immigrants to the country is a priority the Conservative government is ignoring, Karygiannis said.
He also took aim at Prime Minister Stephen Harper for hosting the G20 summit in Toronto.
“When this guy is spending money like a drunken sailor on G8 and G20 and F35s, and he doesn’t care about four years down the line on the [health] accord, I have problems,” Karygiannis said.
He called the G20 summit a disaster, saying Harper only brought it to Toronto for a photo opportunity.
The campaign launch brought together volunteers who have worked with him Karygiannis before, some for the last 10 years.
Grade 12 student Tasha Hari Sevranattan said she signed on with Karygiannis’s team in 2008 at her cousins’ request.
Now she’s working at the campaign office twice a week and said she’s made friends with everyone in the office.
“Jim’s a great guy, he helps the community a lot,” she said with a grin. “He always calls me ‘Kiddo’.”