Posts tagged ‘Karen Mock’

Day 1: Five Candidates To Watch Out For

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.


Sincerity vs. Disingenuousness

I’ve worked with quite a number of politicians over the years. During that time, I’ve met hundreds of them. I’m convinced, perhaps rather naively, that they all mean well. However, aside from the need for your vote and your money, they are all quite different. Some are brilliant while others are merely able. There are a few that seem so overwhelmed with their responsibility or their own ego, they are downright dim-witted.

For me, I can break down any politician into two categories. Category one: caring and sincere. Category two: disingenuous.

It’s those in category one that keep me motivated and willing to put in the hours throughout the campaign and election day. It’s those individuals in category two that fuels scepticism, even in me.

George Smitherman is a brash man. He’ll offer you a firm handshake and a smile but you’d better get down to business. That doesn’t mean he’s not a kind man either. The last time I seen him, he went out of his way to initiate a quick pleasant conversation with me on Bay Street.

Phil Fontaine is one of the most misunderstood people in politics. Honestly, he is one of the kindest, most sincere, giving person I’ve had the pleasure of knowing. I think I still owe him $20 bucks. But Phil’s detractors unfairly paint him as some sort of villain. That’s the furthest from the truth.

Both Phil Fontaine and George Smitherman have two completely different styles and personalities, but are still in category one: they are both caring and sincere.

John Beaucage, my former boss – is untouchable in this category. Kind, caring and sincere and means it.

I’ve recently moved into the riding of Thornhill, which is going to be an intense battleground when a federal election is called later this year. This is a perfect example of sincerity vs. disingenuousness.

Dr. Karen Mock, Liberal candidate for Thornhill

Dr. Karen Mock, Liberal candidate for Thornhill


– is among the most sincere, visionary people I’ve come to know. Her smile, handshake and words mean a lot. She’ll take as much time as she can, just to get to know you and your issues. She polished but personable. I don’t expect these qualities to change in the near future.

Karen is a tireless advocate for anti-racism, human rights and diversity. She was Executive Director of the Canadian Race Relations Foundation as well as the National Director of League for Human Rights of B’nai Brith Canada. She knows her stuff.

When asked about aboriginal issues, she knows them like the back of her hand. She knows about the growing socio-economic void. She knows, first hand, about racism faced by aboriginal people.

She is the personification of category one: kind, sincere and caring. To see her at work is to be inspired.

PETER KENT – is the Minister of State of Foreign Affairs for the Americas. He is the former anchor, reporter and correspondent for Global TV News in Toronto. He is polished and, I have to admit, a natural politician. However, having met him on more than a few occasions – he seems rehearsed – but not in an impressive way. It’s like his personality comes from years of TV practice.

A few months back, Jasmine, who just turned twelve, asked him about aboriginal issues at annual Thornhill Village Festival. He barely gave her the time of day and his response was not adequate, even for her. He was obviously not prepared to answer questions on aboriginal issues without a formal briefing from staff complete with prepared questions and answers.

Peter Kent is the personification of category two. On the surface he seems completely disingenuous – with a wink, smile and quick handshake to boot. Just enough to get the donation out of you and send you on your way.

But you can’t expect too much sincerity from the Harper Conservatives. We’ve all heard the words that folks like Harper use when the cameras aren’t on. To borrow a line from Michael Ignatieff, “there have always been two Harpers. The real Harper comes out when he thinks he can’t be heard.”

At least they are not the same kind of words used by Mike Harris, the king of the Conservative disingenuous. “those Fucking Indians…” If John Beaucage is at one end of the sincerity spectrum – Mike Harris is at the absolute other end.

However, not all conservatives are in category two. Tony Clement, the Minister of Industry is one of the hardest working, most genuine politicians I know. I’m happy to call him a friend. He always considers the public good in a positive, productive way.

I truly look forward to the next federal election and working with Dr. Karen Mock in Thornhill. I’ll also do my best to support Anthony Rota back home in Nipissing. Both are excellent examples of caring politicians who are most definitely cabinet material when the Liberals eventually take office. They are the reasons I continue to support the Liberal party and have hope for souls of politicians everywhere.