PLEASE ALLOW ME TO INTRODUCE MYSELF
with my sister Niki pretending
to work in
the family pizzeria
Accepting a public speaking
award from the Lions Club
My name is Konstantine Malakos. I was raised in Peterborough, Ontario where I grew up in my parent’s restaurants — first a pizzeria and later a diner in our small, industrial working class community. I grew up listening to mostly unionized workers discussing the bread and butter issues of the day. I learned that the things we need in life don’t come easily and involve hard work, that we’re all stronger when we work together, and that everyone has something to offer.
I vividly remember witnessing the impact one of the main factories in the community gradually downsizing their operations had. They have since closed entirely. (an article with some of that history https://goo.gl/sFN36A ) The impact on the community was very similar to the impact of the paper mill closing in Hawkesbury.
My early memories of my father, a first generation Greek immigrant and naturalized Canadian citizen raised by a widowed single mother, include always making sure there was a spot at the dinner table at Christmas for restaurant customers who had nowhere to go. Or my mother, the daughter of a Second World War veteran from the prairies, quietly giving away meals to people who couldn’t afford them.
One memory that particularly stands out was when my parents invited a homeless couple into our family home to take a shower.
Another story that sticks out for me is of my grandfather. He was a Mennonite and a pacifist, but when he saw what was happening in Europe he enlisted and was excommunicated from the church he loved. He saw the war efforts as doing the right thing. This showed me that sometimes doing the right thing comes at at a great personal cost, but that caring for humanity is worth the cost.
My formative years gave me a profound sense of social responsibility. It was through this sense of social responsibility, at age sixteen, that I was drawn to the NDP.
When I graduated high school I went to the United States to pursue post-secondary education. It was there that I learned first-hand what is meant by the immigrant experience. Being a person who spoke English as a first language my experience was not anywhere near as extreme as it was for my friends who spoke other languages at home. What I experienced was a mild taste of many people’s day to day reality.
While studying in the United States, I met my now husband Robert. Together we joined the movement towards marriage equality in New York state. I’m honoured to say we were one of the first gay couples to get married in New York, in large part due to our work towards that goal. The experience of seeing direct action at work towards a goal was incredible for me. Here we were getting married partially because of the efforts we made to put pressure on the lawmakers who represented us.
Initially after moving back to Canada we settled in Montreal where I was elected to the Rosemount Petite Patrie NDP riding association, and later as a two-term President of the LGBT commission for the party. Living in Montreal, we felt profoundly drawn towards a more rural experience, so after a few years, moved to a farm in the area where we now raise poultry and live with our dog Stella and cats Sebastian and Oliver.
I have fallen in love with this community. Whether it be the trails around Glengarry, the coffee shops and restaurants of Alexandria, the Gingerbread houses of Vankleek Hill, the downtown core in Hawkesbury that reminds me of where I grew up, or the farmers throughout the area I have had the great privilege to get to know, I feel profoundly at home in a way I never have before.
Now you know a little bit about me, my experiences and why I am running to represent you. I really want to learn more about you, your priorities, and what you want to see from your representation on Parliament Hill. Please send me an email or give me a call. This is a strong riding filled with salt of the earth people who have worked hard for everything that they have. This riding deserves representation that will work every bit as hard for them. I would like to be that for the people of Glengarry-Prescott-Russell, and would love the opportunity to work for you.