ALEX YUANface of com sept 2019.PNG

Entrepreneur, politician 



I am a candidate for the Conservative Party in the Markham-Thornhill area. My parents were part of the Shanghai volunteer team that helped Jewish refugees flee from the Nazis. They managed to save about 10,000 people. My wife, Lucy Kim-Yuan, is Korean, and her father is a South Korean Air Force general. The Korean community has long been a friend of the Jewish people, and Jewish educational programs are still being implemented in South Korea.

At age 16, I immigrated to Canada with my parents, brother and two sisters. I learned several important lessons in my youth. My main goal in my new country was to get an education. The school administration believed that my grades were not high enough to get accepted to university. But I continued to work hard and as a result received high grades in mathematics, physics, biology and chemistry. This was lesson number 1: never give up.

When it came time to go to university, I ran into another problem: How would I pay for studies and textbooks? I had to work double shifts at a hotel, where I ate and slept. As a result, I managed to earn a living and pay for my studies, but I still couldn’t afford textbooks. The university librarian turned out to be my savior. I asked her for permission to use books on the condition that I would return them in the same condition. And she agreed! If it weren’t for her help, I would never have achieved anything. I learned another important life lesson: you need to help people!

After receiving my degree in business and computer science, I worked for a software company owned by three energetic Jewish businessmen. Later I founded my own company, A & L Computer Software Limited, which specializes in Ontario medical system software for doctors.

Once my business was established, it was time to give back. I began helping poor students by setting up a scholarship fund in various higher educational institutions. Then I founded a children's charitable organization that helps teens at risk to engage in sports leagues. To do this, I managed to raise more than a million dollars, which helped 50,000 children participate in sports.

BUT, no matter how useful these efforts are, I realized that the best way to help people is to run for public office in order to change the system from the inside. My son, Michael Yuan, took over most of the management of my business, which allowed me to devote all my time and energy to running for Parliament in Markham-Thornhill.

I want to talk about one remarkable anecdote. In 2009, at the Lucky Moose market, robbers attacked a grocery store owned by David Chen. The owner put up serious resistance, for which he was called to account and detained. I had never met David before, but was outraged by the injustice of the judicial system: it seemed to me wrong that the store owner could go to jail simply because he defended his property. Many advised me to stay away from this story, arguing that this would not help me gain votes, as it was happening in the “wrong” region for me - Toronto, while I planned to run for York. But I did what I thought was right. I wanted to raise funds for the legal defense of David Chen. I somehow came up with the crazy idea of holding a benefit concert. The crazy part is that everyone who knows me knows that I don’t sing at all. I was offered to sing a song in Cantonese (a language I did not know then!) I rehearsed for a month, and my performance turned out to be worthy even for a professional musician. Before that, I sang only once in my life. That was in 2008. My colleagues, former Thornhill deputies Peter Sherman and Mayor John Tori, raised funds for the Red Cross to help victims of the Sichuan earthquake, which affected 375,000 people. Peter Sherman sang just great, and John and I sang along with him. We did not stop until we raised $100,000.

I want to note that my commitment to the Jewish community and our mutual friendship and respect for each other are unshakable. Thus, you can understand my indignation that the government refused to change the date of the upcoming elections, which falls on the Jewish holidays of Shemini Atzeret and on Shabbat, even though there were clear precedents to do so.

In my life I have always been guided by moral principles, respecting family and community values, which I adopted from my dear parents. I can’t imagine an honor higher than the privilege of serving the people of the Markham-Thornhill as their next Member of Parliament.