Noted Muslim councilor Max Khan dies

By Gerald V. Paul

Max Khan
Max Khan

Max Khan, among only two elected Muslim councilors in the GTA and Liberal candidate for the federal riding of North Oakville-Burlington, has succumbed to cancer. He was 46.

Khan, who represented Ward 6 in Oakville since 2006, was also an advisory member to the board of the Canadian Caribbean Association of Halton.

Federal Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau posted on Twitter: “Shocked and very saddened at the sudden passing of #Oakville’s @MaxKhanLib. My heart is with his loved ones – he will be sorely missed.”

Khan, a strong advocate for social justice, was planning to open his campaign office this month. He also worked as a trial lawyer and mediator for a Bay Street law firm.

Born and raised in the GTA and an Oakville resident since his teens, Khan’s first summer job when he was in university studying economics was on the assembly line at the Oakville Ford plant. He went on to earn his law degree from Dalhousie University.

“Before I was born, Canada welcomed my immigrant parents, offering opportunity in return for hard work. Canada gave me a strong education that allowed me to help people from all walks of life. When cancer struck me, Canada gave me all the help I needed,” Khan wrote in his campaign literature.

The Liberals saw Khan’s experience in both law and politics as an asset for their team. Khan was involved in his Oakville provincial and federal Liberal associations for 14 years and also served as a director of the Oakville riding in the 2011 federal election.

Oakville Mayor Rob Burton issued a statement: “It is with extreme sadness that I must inform you that our friend and colleague Max Khan passed away Saturday night shortly after midnight. I understand he went to the hospital around 7 p.m. with a variety of pneumonia-like symptoms. He had told several of us that he had been suffering with what he believed to be flu for several days.”

On Sunday, Burton posted a message to Twitter noting Khan was a “tireless tiger defending Oakville’s residents” and a “people’s champion.”

During the 2011 municipal budget process Khan and a majority of councilors supported a motion to eliminate many citizen committees to save approximately $50,000. Because the committees are considered a traditional means of communication, many residents criticized the decision harshly.

A funeral was held Monday at Isna Mosque. Khan leaves his father, mother, three sisters and a son.