So the government has been defeated (hurray!!) and the election campaign is in full swing (oh no, not again?!).  The question is: who should we support?

Having worked with many parliamentarians over the years, I’ve learned not to judge a book by their cover.  After they’re all good at shaking hands and kissing babies.  Rather, as an Anishinaabe man, I like to make my mind up by getting to know them as a person.  Through these personal experiences, I’m able to determine a candidate’s integrity by the way their treat people.  During candid moments, you’re able to see how they speak about issues and people behind the scenes.  Sure the Conservative Party has a few.  You can really judge a party by their grass-roots candidates.  Here’s five candidates to watch out for:

Karen Mock

Dr. Karen Mock – Thornhill
Follow @KarenMock on Twitter

One of the most delightful and worthy candidates in the 905, Dr. Karen Mock is a lifelong advocate for race relations. I first met Karen in her capacity of Executive Director of the Canadian Race Relations Foundation. She also served as National Director of the B’nai Brith and is considered a beacon in the Canadian Jewish community.  A kind spirit, Karen always maintains a friendly, humbly demeanor. She is facing Conservative incumbent Peter Kent, who I consider a curt opposite of Karen. He has the polished exterior of someone who has read from a teleprompter all his life. Based on personality alone, Karen shines. Add in her skills and experience, Karen has the potential to be a strong and influential MP. Just as the Conservatives are courting the “ethnic vote” in their smug, disingenuous manner – Karen is a sincere representative of the people, elected or not.

Anthony Rota

Anthony Rota – Nipissing-Timiscaming
Follow @AnthonyRota on Twitter

Anthony turns up at the most interesting places! It was a pleasure to see him at the Prospectors and Developers Association of Canada convention in Toronto a couple of weeks back. I know Anthony fairly well, so I can personally vouch for his work ethic, values and commitment to his job as MP. He has certainly been an effective advocate for Nipissing-Timiscaming. He has stood up for the north, and in particular, ensuring that FedNor continues to contributing to the economic development of Northern Ontario. Anthony serves as the national caucus chair for the Liberals in Ottawa, and goes above and beyond for his constituents.


Ruby Dhalla

Dr. Ruby Dhalla – Brampton-Springdale
Follow: @MPRubyDhalla on Twitter

When compared with the partisan, mean-spirited values of some Parliamentarians across the floor, someone like Ruby Dhalla is a shining star.  One of the youngest women ever to be elected to the House of Commons, she also made history as the first South Asian woman to be elected into public office in the western world. She is a strong and effective champion for youth and women’s issues. But don’t get me wrong, she can also be a tenacious MP.  She would be an excellent Cabinet Minister when the Liberals ascend to government. Ruby is looking to hold on to her 905 riding she has held since 2004.

Christine Innes

Christine Innes – Trinity Spadina
Follow: @ChristineInnes on Twitter

Christine is a breath of fresh air. Already one of the hardest working Liberal candidates in Toronto, she’s looking to unseat Olivia Chow in Trinity-Spadina. She may live in the city, but she’s got small town heart.  Intensely loyal to her friends, Christine always means what she says. And boy… she Loves to talk politics!  Anytime, anyday.  She’s got a strategic mind and would be a valuable part of the Liberal caucus in Ottawa. Christine also has an immense knowledge of Aboriginal issues, having served as Chief of Staff for the Minister of Aboriginal Affairs for Ontario.


Cynthia Wesley-Esquimaux

Cynthia Wesley-Esquimeax
Follow @CynthiaWesley on Twitter

It was touch and go for a few weeks, as Cynthia explored the possibility of being Chief in her home community of Georgina Island. Luckily for the Liberal Party, Cynthia is ready for the race in York Simcoe. Cynthia, who worked as an Assistance Professor with the University of Toronto is one of the foremost experts on Aboriginal social issues. She routinely provides aboriginal awareness training to government and the private sector and has appeared as a regular panelist on TVO’s The Agenda. Cynthia is also an honest, caring woman who would be an excellent MP and representative for her riding.