Adam Pham was born in 1966 in Hanoi, Vietnam, a child of war in a Communist country. His maternal grandfather, who was Polish-French, had to leave Vietnam, to return to France. With the Communist victory in Vietnam, Adam’s paternal grandfather was imprisoned as an “Enemy of the State”, and Adam’s family lost everything, making life a daily struggle. Not only was it hard to find basic necessities, but Adam’s family also had to avoid the punishments of a repressive regime.
Adam knew that education would be a path from poverty to freedom. He studied hard, was accepted to the prestigious Hanoi State University, and earned a full scholarship to study abroad – but only at a Soviet University.
Adam arrived in Kiev in 1986 (right after the Chernobyl disaster) and attended Kiev State University. Adam always feels great affection towards this beautiful nation. During five years in Ukraine, he discovered the beauty of Ukrainian culture, graduated as one of the top students of his University, got married to his university sweetheart Lan, and had a daughter. At this time, all Vietnamese international students in the USSR were forbidden from having children by the Vietnamese government. Anyone that did not follow this rule was deported back to Vietnam. Adam’s first daughter, was raised in secret from the Vietnamese Embassy in Moscow. From this experience, Adam learned a life lesson about human rights in a dictatorship: socialism may promise everything but could also take everything away from you – including your freedom and your family.
Adam’s time in Ukraine was momentous, with the fall of the Soviet Union and the independence of Ukraine. Adam participated in protests in 1991 for Ukrainian independence. As a student at the historic Kiev State University main building, Adam went to Khreschatyk St, Kiev, with his friends after his classes to be part of the Ukraine Independence rallies.
In the following years, Adam continued his studies at the Russian Academy of Education in Moscow, Russia. His family witnessed the chaos of the collapse of socialism and Russia’s transition to the new form of dictatorship during the turbulent administration of Boris Yeltsin and the rise of Vladimir Putin. From those years, Adam saw that without democracy, society became culturally more aggressive and dysfunctional. Socialism creates economic and social poverty by making society weaker, more corrupt, and less happy.
Adam obtained a Ph.D. in Psychology in 2000 while in Russia. His degrees were accredited by the University of Toronto in 2004.
The move to Canada
During his time in Europe, Adam saw the failure of the USSR and the dysfunctions of Russia that brought Putin to power. Adam helped launch the first Vietnamese, anti-Communist journal, Dan Chim Viet, which was oriented to Vietnamese expats living in Eastern Europe. The aim was to form a new democratic state in Vietnam, but when these activities came to the attention of the Vietnamese government, Adam was barred from returning to Vietnam for 9 years until after the death of his father.
Adam, Lan, and their two young daughters looked to Canada to start a new life. They chose freedom, but at first, it was not an easy choice. They arrived in Toronto in 2001 under the Skilled Worker Program without any relatives or friends. They also did not have jobs and they did not speak English. The first three years, the family lived in a basement bachelor apartment in one of the city’s most economically depressed neighbourhoods. They experienced life as newcomers and tenants. They took the challenge of succeeding in their new country seriously by applying themselves to learn English. Adam attained a part-time job as an international high school instructor for 3 years. In 2003, Adam and Lan became the proud parents of a Canadian-born baby boy.
In 2004, Adam obtained his real estate license. He then qualified as a real estate broker. At first, the family could not afford a car, so Adam rode his bicycle to meet with clients, but over the years Adam built a successful real estate business. He is now proud that his investment properties have offered safe, clean and affordable housing for people in in Parkdale-High Park, and beyond.
Adam and his “Phamily” have lived in Parkdale-High Park for 13 years. Lan has a Ph.D. in Education. She learned English in Canada and taught within the Toronto, Peel and York District School Boards before entering the mortgage and real estate industry. Adam and Lan have 3 children: one is an Early Childhood Educator who plans to begin post-graduate studies; another is a business school graduate who works in telecommunications; and the youngest is a high school student who is in the Air Cadets.
Adam was a Scout leader for the 75th Old Mill Troup from 2014-2016. Adam is a canoeing enthusiast, enjoys downhill skiing and Japanese Martial Arts.
Adam and his family are greatly appreciative for all of the opportunities that have been available to them in Canada. They experience gratification in the ability to give back to their country and to their community. In celebration of Canada 150, the Phams hosted a number of family-friendly events: The Parkdale Pumpkin Giveaway in October, the Parkdale Holiday lunch at the Bonar Presbyterian Church in December, and Easter Egg Hunt for children in Parkdale and in High Park around Easter. In the context of these activities, a respected friend suggested to Adam that he consider running for office.
When the Liberal government came out with its government tax plan, Adam saw the threat that it posed to local small businesses. In response, he began a “No New Taxes” campaign engaging other local businesses in a fight to make their voices heard. From life experience, he understood that taxes do not create prosperity. Instead, small businesses needs support, but too often they are not respected by the government.
Adam is a patriotic Canadian. He is also a dissident of a socialist state, a teacher, an immigrant, a tenant, a landlord and a successful business owner, with an international family from Vietnam, Poland, France, Switzerland, Brazil and Canada. Adam can relate to diverse people in the neighbourhood and he understands that the way to address people’s needs are to focus on solving the real problems that they face.
Adam understands the precious blessing that is Canadian democracy, the opportunities of a free market and the quality of life that come from a peaceful and safe society. Adam wishes to ensure that future Canadian generations have the same opportunities to succeed and prosper that he has experienced since moving to Canada.
2018 Provincial Election
Motivated by his love for Canada and affection for Parkdale-High Park, Adam decided to run as a Progressive Conservative candidate in the 2018 provincial election. He understood that this is a very tough neighbourhood for Conservatives, but this riding elected Conservatives in the past. By offering a Conservative that represents the community’s values, Adam hoped to win over new voters.
When he began the process of becoming a candidate, Patrick Brown was the Party’s leader. When a new leadership race began, it seemed that Christine Elliott would become the party leader, but ultimately the membership elected Doug Ford. Adam remained consistent in his desire to represent Parkdale-High Park in the new government during the entire process of losing and then finding a new leader. For Adam, the motivation to run as a Progressive Conservative was always about bringing the voice of his community within the new government – regardless of who was the Premier.
Although Adam was ultimately not elected, he ran a vigorous campaign, bringing in many new volunteers and members. Through the efforts of the Phams’ campaign, there was a significant increase in the vote in both absolute and percentage terms and the Progressive Conservatives came in second for the first time in 20 years.
2019 Federal Election
Now, Adam is the Conservative candidate for the 2019 federal election. He is running to be the representative for Parkdale-High Park within the House of Commons, as a member of the Conservative Party of Canada.
Across the country and across Ontario, voters are turning to the Conservatives and voters in Parkdale-High Park should not be surprised if Andrew Scheer is elected Prime Minister and leads a new government next October. Adam’s aim is to give Parkdale-High Park a strong candidate, committed to bringing the community’s voice into the heart of a new government. Andrew Scheer will need voices from urban Canada and Adam can be that voice.
There are many voices in the Conservative party and there is space for our urban perspectives to be influential. On issues ranging from economic prosperity, to immigration and the environment, we can influence the Conservative Party, but only if we engage. Adam aims to bring Parkdale-High Park’s voice to Ottawa, not the other way around.