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Thornhill Grits name hopeful

Karen Mock wants to unseat Peter Kent in next federal election

The new federal Thornhill Liberal nominee says the ruling Conservatives talk a good game but the time for talk is over.

Karen Mock, an educational psychologist and consultant with a history of dealing with issues of human rights, hate crime and diversity, replaces former MP Susan Kadis heading into the next federal election.

“The (Prime Minister Stephen) Harper government, although it tends to say a lot of the right things, I’m not seeing the real evidence on the ground,” she says. “Whether we’re speaking of foreign policy or whether we’re speaking of ensuring that in fact job security is enhanced and unemployment is decreased, all of the right things are being said.

“Where I think I can make a difference, and I have for my entire life, my entire career has been about putting words into action.”

Mock received her PhD in applied psychology in 1975. Since then, she has taught at the University of Toronto, Ryerson University and York University, served as president of the Ontario Multicultural Association, co-founded the Arab/Jewish Leadership Dialogue Group, and sat on the board of the Urban Alliance on Race Relations.

“I have been a community activist and involved in public service and education and race relations my entire life, actually working on the issues and affecting policy,” she says.

At 64, Mock says the time was right for her to enter the political fray.

“I’d been asked over the years, both at the provincial and federal level, and was very involved in the work that I was doing,” she says. “But at this stage of my career and given my feelings around the values of the Liberal Party, the kinds of things that I really believe in, I thought, ‘You know, everything seemed to be falling into place, . . . put it into practice at a different level to make sure that so many of the programs and ideals that we fought so hard for continue to be enshrined and were not eroded’.”

Mock will try to unseat Conservative MP Peter Kent in the next federal election. Should she succeed, she would become the third woman to represent Thornhill on Parliament Hill after Kadis and Elinor Caplan.

“I know it will be a tough fight,” she says. “I know that while I’m very well known in parts of the community and through my public works and so on, I do need to ensure that I become a household name as well.

“I’m totally committed to working very hard for the people of Thornhill, for all of us, to make this the kind of community, province and country in which we all want to live, that also continues with its outstanding reputation on the world stage as a peacekeeper but one that also has credibility with all parts of the community to in fact be able to bring people together to promote peace and security.”

Vaughan Today
In print: October 9, 2009, page 12
Online: October 10, 2009 [link]