Reza Moridi

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Reza Moridi
Dr. Reza Moridi - self portrait.jpg
Ontario MPP
In office
2007–2018
Preceded byNew riding
Succeeded byDaisy Wai
ConstituencyRichmond Hill
Personal details
Born1945 (age 74–75)
Urmia, West Azarbaijan, Iran
Political partyLiberal
ResidenceRichmond Hill, Ontario
ProfessionPhysicist, Engineer

Reza Moridi (Persian: رضا مریدی‎; born c. 1945) is a former politician in Ontario, Canada. He was a Liberal member of the Legislative Assembly of Ontario from 2007 to 2018 who represented the riding of Richmond Hill. He served as a cabinet minister in the government of Kathleen Wynne. He was the first Iranian-Canadian elected to legislature [1] and appointed as a Cabinet minister in Canada [2]

Background[edit]

Moridi was born in Urmia, capital of West Azerbaijan Province in northwest Iran. He grew up in Urmia, attended Alborz High School in Tehran and graduated from Tehran University with BSc and MSc degrees in Physics. He continued his education in the UK and obtained MTech and PhD degrees from Brunel University in London. He received an Honorary Doctorate from Odlar Yurdu University, Baku, Azerbaijan.

For his contributions to physics and engineering, Moridi was elected Fellow of the Institute of Physics and Fellow of the Institution of Engineering and Technology of the UK. In recognition of his contributions to the understanding of nuclear materials and radiation, the Canadian Nuclear Society presented him with the Education and Communication Award. Also, in recognition of his contributions to the profession of Health Physics, the Health Physics Society of the United States presented him with the Fellow Award. Moridi has received numerous awards and recognitions for his extensive community and humanitarian work. [3]

Prior to entering into politics, he was a Chartered Engineer and Chartered Physicist. He worked for 17 years at the Radiation Safety Institute of Canada where he was the Vice-President and Chief Scientist. He also worked in the electrical industry as an executive and in academia as a professor and administrator.

Politics[edit]

Moridi's campaign office

Moridi ran as the Liberal candidate in the 2007 provincial election in the riding of Richmond Hill. He defeated Progressive Conservative Alex Yuan by 5,329 votes.[4] He was re-elected in 2011,[5] and 2014.[6] However, he was defeated in June 7, 2018 election by the conservative candidate. Although Moridi was defeated in the 2018 Provincial Election by Conservative Member of Provincial Parliament Daisy Wai, Moridi stated that he intends on reclaiming his seat as a Member of Provincial Parliament for Richmond Hill four years from now.[7]

During the Dalton McGuinty government he served as Parliamentary Assistant to the Ministers of Training, Colleges and Universities, Research and Innovation and Energy. When Kathleen Wynne took over as Premier in 2013, she appointed Moridi to her cabinet as Ministry of Research and Innovation.[8] After the 2014 election she assigned him the additional role of Ministry of Training, Colleges and Universities.[9] On June 13, 2016, Moridi's cabinet role was reduced to a renamed portfolio of Minister of Research, Innovation and Science.[10] He also served as Chair of the Cabinet Committee on Education, Skills and Economy.

Contributions during Public Service[edit]

In 2015, Moridi launched modernization of the Ontario Students Assistance Program (OSAP) by making tuition free for students from low and middle income families and helped establish York University campus in Markham, e-Campus in Toronto and initiated the process of modernizing the university funding formula and the first ever stand-alone French language university in Ontario.[11]

He signed MOUs with countries such as China, Germany, Czech Republic, UK, Korea, Israel, Denmark, Turkey and Jordan. [12] He led Science and Technology missions to USA (four times), China (twice), Korea, Germany (twice), Czech Republic, Israel (twice), West Bank (twice), Jordan, Turkey, Armenia and Azerbaijan and led Nuclear Energy delegations to China and Korea.[13]

Coincidental Involvement in Controversy[edit]

In 2007, Moridi "found himself stuck" in a $200,000 "slush fund" scandal that was dominating Ontario politics at the time.[14] Concerns arose when the Iranian-Canadian Community Centre, where Moridi was a sitting board-member at the time, appeared to be one of the 110 agencies receiving portions of $32 million grants allegedly with the lack of formal application processes, public notices, meeting minutes/records and unclear selection criteria. When concerns over the transparency of the application process were raised by opposition parties, Moridi and other board-members quit this centre, and responded by stating that they do not believe the money dedicated to the organization should be returned.[15] New Democrat MPP Michael Prue demanded clarity on the group "to put the government grant to use in helping Iranian immigrants attempting to settle in the Greater Toronto Area".[16]

In January 2016, Moridi was criticized for allowing two Ontario colleges to open satellite campuses in Saudi Arabia that only accepted male students. He said that administration of such places are up to each college's board of governors. He said, "What has become clear is that further engagement needs to take place between the government and Ontario's college sector on this important issue. I will be reaching out to Algonquin College and Niagara College immediately to receive a full update on their international activities."[17]

In 2018 Moridi called for the death of the Iranian elected president Hassan Rouhani. Saying "[The people of Iran] have said, 'Marg bar Rouhani [death to Rouhani]" [18]

Cabinet positions[edit]

Ontario Provincial Government of Kathleen Wynne
Cabinet posts (2)
Predecessor Office Successor
Brad Duguid Minister of Training, Colleges and Universities
2014–2016
Deb Matthews[a]
Glen Murray Minister of Research and Innovation and Science[b]
2013–2018
none

Awards and Recognition[edit]

On October 12, 2018, the Iranian community of the Greater Toronto Area organized a tribute dinner honouring Reza Moridi where in recognition of his service to the Town of Richmond Hill, the Town named one of the streets “Urmia Avenue” - after the ancient city od Urmai in Iran where Moridi was born.[19]

Human rights[edit]

Moridi has been active in support of human rights in his homeland Iran. In 2009, he presented a petition to the legislature regarding the violation of human rights in Iran in the aftermath of the 2009 presidential election.[20] He advocated for the passing of the legislation in the House of Commons of Canada on June 5, 2013, that proclaimed massacre of political prisoner in Iran by the order of Ayatollah Khomeini during the summer of 1988, was a crime against humanity. He also introduced a petition that asked the Federal Minister of Foreign Affairs to intervene on Saeed Malekpour's behalf and appeal to the government of Iran to free him.[21][22]

In May 2010, he read a statement in praise of the Republic of Azerbaijan in honour of the nation's anniversary in which he called the current government of Azerbaijan "a secular democratic republic".[23]

Electoral record[edit]

2018 Ontario general election
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Progressive Conservative Daisy Wai 22,224 51.24 +14.70
Liberal Reza Moridi 12,108 27.92 -19.86
New Democratic Marco Coletta 7,490 17.27 +6.30
Green Walter Bauer 1,248 2.88 -0.26
Libertarian Igor Bily 301 0.69 -0.50
Total valid votes 43,371 100.0  
Turnout 52.87%
Eligible voters 82,026
Progressive Conservative gain Swing
Source: Elections Ontario[24]

References[edit]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ As Minister of Advanced Education and Skills Development
  2. ^ From 2013 to 2016 portfolio was known as Minister of Research and Innovation

Citations[edit]

  1. ^ "Moridi announces nomination for provincial Liberal party in Richmond Hill". Kim Zarzour from YorkRegion.com. February 28, 2017.
  2. ^ "The New Wynne Ministry". TVontario, Steve Paikin. February 12, 2013.
  3. ^ "CELEBRATING THE ACHIEVEMENTS OF DR. REZA MORIDI". TVO. October 12, 2018.
  4. ^ "Summary of Valid Ballots Cast for Each Candidate" (PDF). Elections Ontario. October 10, 2007. p. 13 (xxii). Archived from the original (PDF) on October 7, 2009.
  5. ^ "Summary of Valid Ballots Cast for Each Candidate" (PDF). Elections Ontario. October 6, 2011. p. 15. Archived from the original (PDF) on March 30, 2013.
  6. ^ "General Election by District: Richmond Hill". Elections Ontario. June 12, 2014.
  7. ^ Zarzour, Kim (June 8, 2018). "PC party's Daisy Wai unseats Liberal Reza Moridi in Richmond Hill". YorkRegion.com. Retrieved February 10, 2019.
  8. ^ "Ontario's new cabinet". Waterloo Region Record. Kitchener, Ont. February 12, 2013. p. A3.
  9. ^ Richard Brennan; Robert Benzie; Rob Ferguson (June 24, 2014). "Kathleen Wynne warns financial cupboard is bare". Toronto Star.
  10. ^ "Kathleen Wynne's shuffled cabinet features 40% women". CBC News. June 13, 2016.
  11. ^ "Ontario Modernizing Financial Aid for Students". news.ontario.ca. Retrieved January 15, 2015.
  12. ^ "Ontario universities, Minister head to Turkey to strengthen international partnerships". www.newswire.ca. Retrieved December 1, 2014.
  13. ^ "Universities should expand international reputation, Ontario minister says". ww.theglobeandmail.com. Retrieved September 10, 2014.
  14. ^ "Insults and accusations fly in Ontario `slush fund' affair | Toronto Star". thestar.com. Retrieved June 24, 2017.
  15. ^ "King City cricket field at heart of scandal | YorkRegion.com". YorkRegion.com. July 27, 2007. Retrieved June 24, 2017.
  16. ^ "Insults and accusations fly in Ontario `slush fund' affair | The Star". thestar.com. Retrieved February 23, 2019.
  17. ^ "Ontario colleges open campuses in Saudi Arabia for men only". CTV News. January 21, 2016.
  18. ^ "Ontario minister says Iranian people want the death of their president". Vice news. January 8, 2018.
  19. ^ Wang, Sheila (December 3, 2018). "Richmond Hill names street after former MPP's birthplace in Iran". YorkRegion.com. Retrieved February 23, 2019.
  20. ^ Reza Moridi's petition regarding "Human Rights on Sept 14, 2009 on YouTube
  21. ^ "Iran sentences Richmond Hill resident to death". Post City Magazine.
  22. ^ Reza Moridi reading a petition to the Legislative Assembly on YouTube
  23. ^ Reza Moridi, Liberal MPP (Richmond Hill, Ontario) comments about Azerbaijan at the Legislative Assembly of Ontario, Canada, May 30, 2010 on YouTube.
  24. ^ "Summary of Valid Votes Cast for each Candidate" (PDF). Elections Ontario. p. 9. Retrieved January 20, 2019.

External links[edit]