By Robert Frank
Don’t be fooled by the youthful face: Yana Lukasheh has a world more experience than many of her elders.
Action Laval’s candidate for city council in Ste. Dorothée district has worked in the political fast lane since she was 17.
“I spent four years working full-time for [former deputy premier of Quebec] Michèle Courchesne, while completing my degree full time at night,” Lukasheh told The Suburban in an interview.
She rose rapidly in responsibility, but when Courchesne decided not to seek another mandate, Lukasheh shifted to federal politics, as spokesman for Conservative candidate Agop Evereklian, who lost a tight, three-way race on Montreal’s West Island during the last election campaign.
Afterward, Lukasheh jumped into municipal politics. She spent two years working in Michael Appelbaum’s Montreal borough (Côte des Neiges-Notre Dame de Grâce) then earned a promotion to press secretary to former mayor Gerald Tremblay, before returning to the borough as chief of staff to Appelbaum’s successor, Lionel Perez.
“I’ve really learned a lot,” she declared.
“Let’s not hide the fact that working in politics with everything happening with corruption and collusion ages you and your demeanour. You become a lot more sensitive to these things.”
“I’m proud of it. At 25, I’m extremely proud of the path that I’ve taken and the experience that I’ve had. There were many tireless days.”
She decided to “make the plunge” into elected office in Ste. Dorothée, where families with children abound.
“We need to look at measures to provide better public security there, to make sure that they remain safe,” Lukasheh said. “We also need facilities for sports and recreation. In my district, there is an arena on Samson that is in dire need of investment. Revamping that infrastructure will go a long way toward providing those kids a better place to conduct camps and hockey practices.”
“A third issue is traffic,” she added. “Specifically access through three main arteries: Notre Dame, des Bois and Samson.”
“If you look at development south toward the river, the sole access to Montreal is via Samson,” Lukasheh explained. “Getting onto Highway 13 from a two-lane street. Can you imagine the patience needed to go through traffic there every evening? New avenues will make those [commuters’] lives a little easier.”
Having come to Canada aged seven from Jordan, where her grandparents were exiled from the Caucuses by the former Soviet Union, Lukasheh speaks fluent Arabic and Russian, as well as immaculate English and French.
“Growing up in Laval alongside families from other cultures, I understand the particularities of the Arab, Greek and Russian communities,” she noted, “and I hope that Ste. Dorothée’s majority French population will also place its confidence in me as a Quebecer and Laval resident who speaks French fluently, understands the issues and aims to improve citizens’ quality of life.”
“I want to bring some confidence to counter the cynicism that has taken root in Laval,” she concluded. “At this point, it’s virgin territory. It’s anyone’s for the taking. Hopefully the electors in Ste. Dorothée will appreciate my youth and fresh ideas, as well as my experience in politics.”
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