Greek descent Federal Candidate for the Conservative Party in Richmond Hill, Costas Menegakis, is positive on the forthcoming elections on the 2nd of May. Mr. Menegakis has served over the past 20 years as an active volunteer in various capacities for non-profit organizations, including Greek Diaspora matters.
He was elected Chairman of the Greek Community of Toronto in 1999, while he was re-elected several times serving as President for a total of ten years, ending in 2009. Under his leadership the Greek Community commenced several initiatives offering a multitude of services to over 120,000 Canadians of Hellenic heritage in the GTA. Mr. Menegakis has served on the boards of the Hellenic Canadian Federation of Ontario and the Canadian Hellenic Congress, in addition to the World Council of Hellenes Abroad (SAE).
In his interview to the “National Herald” and a question regarding the elections, he stated that the campaign is going very well in Richmond Hill; the region’s population is estimated around 200.000 people, with 88.000 voters, while, 45.000 to 52.000 voters are expected to participate on Monday’s elections, according to Mr. Menegakis.
Furthermore he stated, “I am a candidate for the governing party in a district which hasn’t elected the Conservative Canadian party for many years”, adding that “it is not an easy district, but nevertheless we have worked very hard and we possess a very strong platform. The issues posed by the Prime Minister, are based on the economy and are issues of major significance for Canada”.
As he mentioned “besides the economy, there is also the issue of citizen’s safety and crime. The government, over the past five years has passed twenty bills, which are very harsh for those engaging in delinquent and criminal acts”.
Another issue is “increased funding for healthcare in Canada, as the society is facing a low birthrate problem, we have fewer children and more senior citizens, and we certainly need more funds for hospitals, doctors”.
In response to an answer on Greek citizens’ support, Mr. Menegakis stated that he has the utmost support of the Greek community, adding that “I don’t have many Greeks in my district, there are approximately two thousand, but if 1.500 vote, I am certain that I will receive 1,498 votes”.
Asked about the reason he switched from the Liberal to the Conservative party, he stated “no, I have never been in the Liberal Party. I was the President of Toronto’s Greek Community and as a leader of such a great community, I have always been approached by all parties, to run for elections or requesting support and I helped individuals who promoted Greek interests. It is the first time I run for elections under a party, in fact the Conservative Party.”
Mr. Menegakis was born and raised in Canada. His parents come from Sparta. “My mother, whom I lost five months ago, originated from Platana and my father comes from Skoura”, he stated. Mr. Menegakis is fluent in Greek, to a point that nobody can tell he was not born in Greece. In response to a question on how he became so fluent in Greek, he stated “in two ways. In Greek schools of the Montreal Greek Community, but the major factor was home, where our parents insisted on talking to us in Greek, it was their dream to raise their children as productive Canadian citizens in the country we live, but to also be able to feel Greek within our souls, and that is how my siblings and I were raised”.
On Hellenism and Canada, Mr. Menegakis stated “Hellenism is doing very well here, we are approximately four hundred thousand in Canada” and stressed that “Hellenism has succeeded in all areas, the academic, the political world, everywhere and this is due to our parents and the difficult struggle that Greek immigrants were involved in to raise their children in the best possible way in this hospitable and loving country that we have the honor and pleasure to live in”.
Mr. Menegakis is a graduate of Concordia University’s Faculty of Commerce.
In regard to a question on the Cultural Center of Toronto and why the project was not implemented, Mr. Menegakis stated that “we launched our efforts on the Cultural Center of the Greek Community in Toronto, with a great struggle; we made progress around 70%. After being 15 years elected to the Greek Community Council and having served for 10 years as its President, I thought it was appropriate to move on to other issues in my life and passed the torch in a very solid financial condition. After his retirement from community activities, three Presidents were switched and the usual followed; “why him and not me”, resulting in the Organization losing the trust of the public and an interruption of funds. The new administration is currently working very hard, they are praiseworthy people, but had no other choice but to sell the Cultural Center. The assets were increased during my term from 5 million to 25 million. The annual costs increased from 2.4 million to 4 million, resulting in a 100.000 monthly loss for the Community. The Community struggled, due to the lack of funds and had no other choice but to take this extremely difficult decision.”
Source: National Herald