Authorized By Scarborough-Agincourt Federal LIberals
Jim Karygiannis is the Liberal Member of Parliament and Candidate for Scarborough-Agincourt.
On October 14, 2008, he was re-elected for a seventh consecutive term with 57% of the popular vote in his riding.
Jim Karygiannis was first elected to the House of Commons in 1988 and on November 21, 2008, celebrated the 20th Anniversary of his election to the House of Commons.
Prime Minister Paul Martin appointed Mr. Karygiannis Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Human Resources and Skills Development in October 2005. Prior to this, Jim served as the Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Transport, with special emphasis on Transport and the Environment. He was appointed to this post in December 2003.
Jim is an Associate Member of the Standing Committees of the House of Commons on Canadian Heritage, Foreign Affairs and International Development and Justice and Human Rights. He has served on the Standing Committee of Citizenship and Immigration. Jim has been the Liberal Party’s Associate Critic for Small Business and Associate Critic for the Departments of National Revenue and Multiculturalism.
Scarborough-Agincourt is one of the most ethnically diverse federal ridings in Canada. Jim Karygiannis is an effective voice for the people he serves, taking their concerns, on a wide variety of issues, including: immigration; taxation; justice; and, Canada’s global responsibilities, to Caucus and the House of Commons for debate.
Jim Karygiannis has participated in several humanitarian initiatives to help rebuild countries in the aftermath of devastating man-made and/or natural disasters. He has long advocated a permanent “made-in-Canada solution” to help strengthen Canada’s response to international crises. In his view, Canada’s response must include a mechanism for re-uniting Canadian citizens with their loved ones abroad who have been adversely affected by a catastrophic event.
In November 2010, in the wake of multiple natural disasters in Indonesia - earthquakes, a tsunami and volcanic eruptions, Mr. Karygiannis called on the Government of Canada to offer substantive humanitarian assistance to the Government of Indonesia.
In the summer of 2010, northwestern Pakistan was ravaged by the worst flooding in nearly a century - villages drowned; infrastructure collapsed; livelihoods were destroyed; and, an estimated 20 million people were affected by the calamity. Mr. Karygiannis travelled to Pakistan with a team of Canadian doctors who administered emergency medical aid to the flood victims. He visited the flood zone and witnessed the plight and resilience of the flood victims and international relief efforts.
In April 2010, Mr. Karygiannis urged the Government of Canada to respond immediately and effectively with humanitarian aid following the deadly earthquake in Qinghai Province in northwestern China and support the Canadian Chinese Diaspora in its efforts to raise funds to help the earthquake survivors.
Chile was rocked by a massive earthquake in February 2010 that was felt as far away as Brazil and triggered a tsunami warning in the Pacific Region. Mr. Karygiannis lauded the efforts of Canadian emergency relief teams who travelled immediately to Chile to render humanitarian assistance. He also challenged the Canadian government to do its utmost to provide urgent care.
Within hours of the earthquake catastrophe in Haiti in January 2010, Mr. Karygiannis met with members of the Haitian community to discuss their immediate concerns for the survivors. He also called on the Government of Canada to demonstrate leadership and immediately deploy emergency aid and resources to the ravaged country. Six months after the earthquake, Jim went to Haiti and visited Canadian aid centres and met with members of the civil society.
In 2009, the Philippines, Vietnam, Cambodia, Laos and Thailand were ravaged by typhoons, western Indonesia was hit by an earthquake and Samoa a tsunami. Jim appealed to the Canadian government to re-establish the humanitarian aid protocol that the government implemented after the tsunami in 2004.
In May 2008, Jim responded immediately to calls from the Canadian Chinese community in the wake of the massive earthquake in Sichuan Province in southwestern China. He called on the Government of Canada to give high priority to its response to the urgent needs of the survivors.
In the aftermath of Cyclone Nargis that hit Myanmar (formerly Burma) in May 2008, Jim worked very closely with the Burmese community with respect to their efforts to provide humanitarian relief to the survivors.
Jim Karygiannis was honoured by the Chinese and Burmese communities for his humanitarian efforts.
Cyclone Sidr slammed into the coastal region of Bangladesh in November 2007. Immediately following this disaster, Jim contacted members of the local community to hear their concerns. Jim visited the devastated areas and witnessed the emergency response efforts of Canadian aid agencies. He documented his observations in a report to the Government of Canada and the Minister responsible for the Canadian International Development Agency with respect to Canada’s humanitarian response.
Jim responded quickly to the news of the devastating landslide in Guinsaugon, Philippines in February 2006. Within hours of the tragedy, he met with members of the local community to discuss their concerns for an immediate humanitarian response by the Canadian Government in the region.
When the deadly earthquake hit India, Pakistan and Afghanistan in October 2005, Jim immediately began working with members of the Canadian South Asian Community, to help establish their priorities for humanitarian aid for those in need. He helped to ensure that the Canadian Government was aware of the community’s concerns. In the aftermath of the earthquake, Jim traveled to the devastated region of Muzzafarabad, Pakistan. There, he saw the work of the men and women of the Canadian Disaster Assistance Response Team (DART) as they administered emergency humanitarian aid.
He was among the first to reach out following Hurricane Katrina that hit the United States of America Gulf Coast in 2005. In response to inquiries from constituents who asked what they could do to assist the survivors of Katrina, Jim convened a Katrina Relief Round Table. The U.S. Consul General to Toronto discussed with community leaders and concerned residents ways in which they could best help their neighbours in need.
Early in 2005, Guyana was being deluged with rain that resulted in massive flooding. At the behest of constituents and leaders of the Canadian Guyanese community, Jim traveled to Guyana to survey the damage caused by flooding. His report was instrumental in the Government of Canada’s commitment, through the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA), of $2.7 million in aid to Guyana.
In the days immediately following the 2004 tsunami, Jim met with constituents who were worried about the plight of their families and wanted to know if Canadian humanitarian aid was being delivered where it was needed. In January 2005, he visited several tsunami ravaged areas of Sri Lanka and reported his findings to the community and to the Prime Minister. He urged the Canadian Government to re-unite Canadians with their loved-ones who had survived the tsunami.
In the aftermath of the earthquake that rocked Bam, Iran in December 2003, Jim engaged community leaders in dialogue about Canada’s commitment to the call for international assistance.
He travelled to the earthquake zone of Ahmadabad, India, in 2001, to assess the devastation. Upon his return, he apprised Cabinet Ministers about the needs of survivors.
Jim Karygiannis believes that Canada should develop bilateral trade relations as it is important in the development of emerging global markets. In 2009, he travelled to Kurdistan and, in 2010, to Nigeria with Canadian members of the Kurdish and Nigerian Diasporas. The purpose of these trips was to explore business opportunities that will help foster sustainability in these developing economies. During these visits, Jim Karygiannis met with government officials; community and business leaders; and, members of civil society to discuss a wide range of issues including - bilateral trade; the importance of the Canada’s investment in these countries to help strengthen domestic economies; and, environmental and social issues.
Mr. Karygiannis has participated in various trade missions to India, Pakistan, China, Hong Kong, Kazakhstan and Egypt, to name a few. He was also a member of the Government of Canada’s Team Canada mission to China in 2001.
Jim has witnessed democracy in action abroad. In February 2008, he traveled to Pakistan as an Official Election Observer authorized by the Election Commission of Pakistan, to observe the federal and provincial elections. Jim has also witnessed elections in Somaliland and Russia.
Jim Karygiannis has long been a strong advocate for social justice and human rights.
In May 2010, Mr. Karygiannis presented a Motion in the House of Commons to condemn the attacks on Ahmadiyya Muslim worshippers who were attending Friday prayers in Lahore, Pakistan. Eighty-six members of the community lost their lives in simultaneous attacks on two mosques. The Motion urged the Government of Pakistan to bring to justice all those involved in perpetrating these barbaric acts and work to ensure that all Pakistanis can worship in peace and safety. The Motion received unanimous consent.
In 2009, Mr. Karygiannis visited the Monument of Halabja Martyrs in Kurdistan, Iraq, and told the survivors that he would ask the House of Commons to declare the actions of the Saddam Hussein government against the Kurdish people to be a crime against humanity. In 2010, Members of Parliament unanimously supported Mr. Karygiannis’ Motion, condemning the poison gas attack against Halabja, the destruction of Iraqi Kurdish villages and the systematic persecution of Kurds in Iraq as crimes against humanity.
Mr. Karygiannis has been actively working on the “Cyprus Issue” - the destruction of the religious and cultural heritage of Greek Cypriots and the repatriation of refugees from the northern occupied territory of Cyprus. In 2009 and 2010, he met with Cypriot Government officials, religious leaders, representatives of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) and the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR). He also launched a website with respect to this issue. Also in 2009, Jim travelled to Kandhamal District in the State of Orissa, India, where thousands of Christians were forced to live in refugee camps, which were established after religiously-motivated violence in the summer of 2008. Upon his return to Canada, he brought their plight to the attention of community leaders and the House of Commons.
April 2005 marked the 90th Anniversary of the Armenian Genocide. Jim Karygiannis led a Canadian delegation of Parliamentarians and members of the Canadian Armenian Diaspora to the official ceremony marking this sombre occasion, at the Genocide Memorial in Yerevan, Armenia. In 2004, the Parliament of Canada voted to recognize the Armenian Genocide. He had pressed Parliament to move in this direction for over sixteen years.
In 1999, the President of the Hellenic Republic awarded Mr. Karygiannis the decoration of the “Officer of the Order of Phoenix” in recognition of his many public service contributions.
Jim was born in Athens, Greece in 1955. He immigrated to Canada as a teenager with his family, settling in Toronto, Ontario in 1966. He graduated from the University of Toronto with a Bachelor of Applied Science in Industrial Engineering. He also holds a Fellowship of Business Administration from the Canadian School of Management. Jim worked in the family business until 1988 when he was elected.
Jim Karygiannis is married and is the father of five daughters.
Jim believes in the power and potential of the human race. He is often quoted as saying that R.A.C.E. stands for Respecting our neighbours, Accepting our differences, Celebrating our rich diversity and Embracing our heritage.