Like many East Indians from Uganda that fled the brutal regime of Idi Amin the 1970’s, Liberal Senator Mobina Jaffer’s experience there reflects a story of courage, determination and profound sadness. Her father was a respected politician in Uganda and stayed in the East-African country until the last possible moment. Ms. Jaffer, the eldest of his six children, was studying in England when the violence broke out and soon afterwards her whole family had arrived in London to join her. Despite offers to stay in England, the family decided to move to Canada and settled in Vancouver.
Armed with a law degree, Ms. Jaffer sought work in her chosen field, but like many immigrants her credentials weren’t recognized by the authorities. It was thanks to the intervention of her employer, former BC Supreme Court justice Thomas Dohm, that Ms. Jaffer was able to practice law and soon joined Mr. Dohm as a partner in his firm.
Ms. Jaffer ran twice for the Liberal Party, in 1993 and 1997 but was unsuccessful. However she did serve as the party’s vice president. In 2001, she was appointed to the Senate by Jean Chrétien, becoming the first Muslim, the first South Asian, and the first African-born senator to sit in the Senate.
Born into political life in Ottawa, Catherine Clark is no stranger to being in the public eye. As founding host of CPAC’s popular weekly television show Beyond Politics, Catherine interviews Members of Parliament, Premiers and people of influence to reveal the personal, human side of public life. Catherine is also a sought-after public speaker and emcee, and writes the “Giving Back” column for Ottawa at Home Magazine, profiling people who are improving the lives of their fellow citizens.