[attach]1564[/attach]István Tar understands your problems.
At least he says he does, but considering this Ward 14 city council candidate’s biography, it’s easy to imagine that he’s right. For Tar, to experience problems is to understand them, and the 58-year-old says he’s experienced them all.
Tar lives in social housing on Bloor Street West. His non-verbal autistic son lives in a group home, his wife left him years ago. He lived on welfare (or, as his website puts it, “badfare”) for years and is today a pensioner in early retirement.
“It’s terrible. A terrible situation,” he said of his son’s living conditions.
It wasn’t always this way for Tar. He used to be a small business owner, but after a major flood at his shop in 1994 compounded in devastation by an insurance company missing in action, he’s been unable to find decent work.
Over the years Tar says he’s reached out to his representatives from all levels of government for help but found none.
“Nobody got back to me,” Tar said.
“I can do a better job than that.”
Registering as a candidate has been his raison d’être, going door to door, binder in hand, to do what he believes will be a better job.
“I talk with people, I talk with them about the election. (I say) I am a poor man, please remember my name and please vote for me.
They ask me, ‘What party are you from?’ and I say, “Help the poor. The Help the Poor Party.”
Although Tar admits that his connection to the community has been very limited (“It was basically nothing,” he said) he believes he can win by convincing the voters one by one and by being a sympathetic ear to their problems.
“Somebody young … cannot (understand) my problem. You will not understand my problem. But I can understand your problem. That is my point. (Also) you have to live in both sides of the world to understand the people’s problems.”
Prior to coming to Canada 29 years ago Tar lived as a poet in his native Hungary. That country’s government at the time expelled Tar because his poetry was anti-communist.
“When I was 15 and a half, that time they confiscated 750 poems from my father’s home. They told me to leave,” Tar said.
He eventually wound up in Athens where he applied for refugee status in Canada.
“I got disappointed in Hungary. Then because I got disappointed here I run for this position. The other people who run this office did not best job,” he said.
Although the welfare system that has so disappointed Tar is provincially administered, he believes city council is a good place to start
in having it overhauled.
“You see, intelligent people, finished university or business people (designed the welfare system). They decide to give … $260 per month for living. How can they do it? $260 is enough for a dog for a daily bone,” he said.
“Every Canadian should have $1,000 a month.”
Tar also plans to be an advocate for autism research, inspired by his son’s experience with autism. Now 28, Tar’s son lost his speech at age three.
“Since 25 years ago we are on the waiting list,” said Tar. “At the end of the story, at the end of the waiting list, there is no help. No hope. No promise.”
Now Tar is manufacturing his own hope and that hope is to win a seat at city council.
“I have to win. I must. (The voters) have to trust me, they should,” he said.