"Your moral values are important, because it gives you a frame for how you look at the world...we are legislators and that is a different responsibility. I don't feel it is my responsibility to impose my moral values on everybody else." - Arnold Chan: father, political staffer, member of parliament, cancer survivor, Class of 1993.
Arnold Chan, member of parliament for the Toronto-area riding of Scarborough-Agincourt, won a by-election as the Liberal candidate on June 30th, 2014. The resignation of his predecessor, Jim Karygiannis, was unexpected and caught Chan unaware. "This really was not in my planning deck at all until his resignation was announced in early April," says Chan. He joined Justin Trudeau and the Liberals in opposition, but soon was running for election again. When Chan won his seat for the second time in October 2015, he was part of the Liberal sweep to power, and was appointed Deputy Government House Leader in the new government.
Chan was well-prepared for election and a life in politics. He obtained undergraduate and Master's degrees in Political Science from the University of Toronto before coming to the University of British Columbia to study law. Chan applied his academic interest in politics in roles under member's of Ontario's provincial government, including as chief of staff to the Ontario Minister for Citizenship and Immigration Michael Chan (no relation), and as senior adviser on intergovernmental affairs to Ontario Premier Dalton McGuinty.
Arnold Chan's eventually continued his hobby of obtaining degrees, studying a Master's degree from the University of Toronto in Urban Planning. This degree complimented Mr. Chan's work, as he specialized his legal practice with a Toronto firm in the area of development and planning law. Even his parliamentary passions reflect his education. When he was first elected in 2014, Chan advocated "we need...long-term predictable funding for our municipalities to engage in long-term infrastructure projects, [for instance] construction of the Scarborough subway and making sure we have funding for it."
The toughest time in Chan's life may have been his time in the public spotlight, but rather his multiple bouts with cancer. Chan was first diagnosed with nasopharyngeal carcinoma - a cancer that affected his nasal cavity and lympathic system - shortly after his first electoral victory in June 2014. The cancer resurfaced in February 2016, and Chan was faced with additional treatments of chemotherapy, which left him tired and forced him to re-evaluate his work-life balance. Being low on energy was frustrating for Chan, who admitted slowing down in order to heal was even difficult, saying "We're [parliamentarians] all triple type-A personalities and I don't like being on the bench."
Arnold Chan passed away in September, 2017.