2021 Candidate: Maryem Tollar

Toronto-Danforth candidate Maryem Tollar head and shoulders smiling

Maryem Tollar, Toronto-Danforth candidate, 2021 election. Photo credit: Cathy Ord.

Maryem Tollar is a renowned Egyptian-Canadian vocalist, known for her world music performances. She has been a public school teacher with the TDSB since 2012. Her music and work have always coincided with her politics. Many projects she is involved with explore different aspects of society. She uses her music as a vehicle for her activism and she has set many poems by Ehab Lotayef to music. Ehab’s poems have many themes including: the Iraq war, issues in Israel/Palestine, human rights issues and freedom and dignity for the oppressed. Maryem believes that there is intersectionality between climate issues and human rights issues. Maryem is a community organizer in the arts and she has used her platform to shine a light on a variety of social justice concerns. In her artistic career, she has received several Juno and Dora nominations and awards for musical projects and theatre productions. In 2019 she won the inaugural Johanna Metcalf Award for Performing Arts. Maryem is married to woodwind player Ernie Tollar and they have 3 children.

10 responses to “2021 Candidate: Maryem Tollar”

  1. Victoria Chambers writes:

    Cycling Infrastructure.

    Hi Maryem, as an avid cyclist in this city I am concerned about the continued lack of investment into a safe cycling environment in the downtown core. On a weekly basis cyclists are killed by drivers in Toronto, and it makes me incredibly frustrated. There are several cyclist in both the Green and NDP party that are running in the federal election, is this an issues that you would regularly advocate for if elected? It is an issue that directly fits into the Green party’s platform.

  2. Maryem Tollar writes:

    Hi Victoria,

    Cycling infrastructure is very important to me and I would definitely be an advocate for making cycling safer in this city. Thank you for asking about this.

    I will be out by the Carrot Common to collect signatures this evening, if you are available, please come and say hi and we can talk more.

  3. Kevin Keystone writes:

    Hi Maryem,

    Some questions for you on Israel/Palestine. Thank you!

    Q 1: Do you support a ban on importing goods and services from illegal Israeli settlements?

    Q 2: Do you support suspending all bilateral trade of weapons and military services with Israel until it complies with international law?

    Q 3: Will you support Palestinian efforts to seek redress at the International Criminal Court (ICC); and push the government to vote in support of all UN resolutions upholding Palestinian human rights?

    Q 4: Will you reject the IHRA definition of antisemitism, and commit to fighting antisemitism without conflating it with criticism of Israel, and without undermining free expression and activism for Palestinian human rights?

    Kevin Keystone
    Toronto-Danforth

  4. Maryem Tollar writes:

    Thank you for your questions, Kevin. Here are my responses to your questions:

    Q1 – I support a ban on importing goods and services from illegal Israeli settlements.

    Q2 – I support suspending all bilateral trade of weapons and military services with Israel until it complies with international law.

    Q3 – I support Palestinian efforts to seek redress at the International Criminal Court (ICC); and push the government to vote in support of all UN resolutions upholding Palestinian human rights.

    Q4 – I reject the IHRA definition of antisemitism, and commit to fighting antisemitism without conflating it with criticism of Israel, and without undermining free expression and activism for Palestinian human rights.

  5. Michael Cheena writes:

    Are you aware of the historical nation-to-nation relationship between First Nations or Indigenous people and mainstream society? What do you know about Indigenous people and the legacy and colonial history of residential schools?

  6. Maryem Tollar writes:

    Hi Michael,

    I am aware of the historical nation-to-nation relationship between First Nations or Indigenous people and mainstream society. I know that Indigenous people were treated very badly and misled and I am horrified at the legacy and colonial history of residential schools. I believe very strongly that we should be following the 94 calls to action from the Truth and Reconciliation Commission.

    I am currently taking the course offered by the University of Alberta to learn the true history of what happened in Canada and to unlearn the lies that I was taught when I was a child and learning about Canada when I was in school after I immigrated here from Egypt in 1969 when I was 1 year old with my family.

  7. Justin writes:

    Hi,

    I’m wondering what your views are on cryptocurrency. This is an important area for me in the upcoming election. Thank you for your time.

  8. Maryem Tollar writes:

    Hi Justin,

    Cryptocurrencies are a new area that I am learning about. My concerns about them are that cryptocurrencies are like banks without regulated consumer protections and they are burning through an amazing and exponentially increasing amount of greenhouse-gas-creating energy. I know there are Green Party members who feel differently on this. I would like to know how you feel about cryptocurrencies as I learn more about this issue.

  9. Pasha Y. writes:

    IHRA definition of antisemitism: “Antisemitism is a certain perception of Jews, which may be expressed as hatred toward Jews. Rhetorical and physical manifestations of antisemitism are directed toward Jewish or non-Jewish individuals and/or their property, toward Jewish community institutions and religious facilities.”- that is what you are rejecting?

    I will will not vote for the candidate that reject the above definition of antisemitism. It makes me fear for my friends’ well-being. Many of my friends Muslims, Jews and Christians. would support with heart and soul Annamie Paul if she was a candidate for Toronto-Danforth.

  10. Maryem Tollar writes:

    Dear Pasha,

    I think we are in agreement about rejecting hatred toward Jews and Jewish institutions. The part of the IHRA definition that I reject is equating criticism of Israeli policy with antisemitism.

    The definition that I know that a large number of Jewish green members support is the Independent Jewish Voices Definition which you can find here:
    https://www.ijvcanada.org/ijv-welcomes-new-antisemitism-definition-signed-by-200-global-experts/

    I also have Muslim, Jewish, Christian, Israeli and Palestinian friends and family who I completely support. I am running for the Green Party of Canada because the number one issue for this party is taking care of everyone and the planet and that is what I am focusing on.

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