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article imageFormer CTV anchor enters politics, becomes Ontario PC candidate Special

By Andrew Moran     Sep 12, 2011 in Politics
Toronto - A veteran journalist and former anchor for CTV's Business News Network has decided to enter politics because she is tired of politicians never answering her questions. Andrea Mandel-Campbell is the PC candidate for Ontario’s Don Valley West riding.
Andrea Mandel-Campbell is running as an Ontario Progressive Conservative candidate in the Don Valley West riding located in Toronto’s Leaside. The electoral district has become quite conservative recently as it has a conservative City Councillor, John Parker, and now a Conservative Member of Parliament, John Carmichael.
Will there be a trifecta in Don Valley West? Mandel-Campbell, a former CTV anchor and author of “Why Mexicans Don’t Drink Molson,” is hoping to defeat incumbent Member of Provincial Parliament and Transportation Minister, Kathleen Wynne.
What will the Tim Hudak candidate bring to the Don Valley West constituents and the Ontario Legislature? Mandel-Campbell provides an in-depth look at her experience, the issues, the PC Party and politics in the riding.
The Journalist Answers Questions
Digital Journal: After working as a veteran journalist, why did you make the decision to run for public office?
Andrea Mandel-Campbell: “I got tired of politicians never answering any of my questions. I wrote a book, Why Mexicans Don’t Drink Molson, which looks at how government policy can either stunt or stimulate business and the economy.
“Many government departments across the country asked me to come in and share my thoughts. I appreciated their interest, but nothing seems to change. I decided if I really wanted to make a difference I would have to get involved with the political process.”
Digital Journal: What experience and expertise can you bring to both the Don Valley West electoral district and the Ontario Legislature?
Andrea Mandel-Campbell: “I have spent my career as a journalist writing about, analysing and studying the impact of government policy on the economy, business and the standard of living. I have done that by talking to First Nations communities in the Far North, traveling to China to speak with successful Chinese-Canadian entrepreneurs and documenting the impacts of free trade on the Mexico-US border.
“In addition to the decade I spent as a foreign correspondent in Latin America, I spent three years criss-crossing Canada, talking to businesspeople, academics and civil servants for my book, Why Mexicans Don’t Drink Molson, which looks at the need for Canadian companies to be globally competitive.
“I have lived in 5 provinces and 5 countries and I bring a global perspective to everything I do because I believe that what happens globally has local impacts and we have to constantly be aware if what is happening in the rest of the world and adopting best practices.”
Digital Journal: What issue(s) are you most passionate about?
Andrea Mandel-Campbell: “I am passionate about my family, about Canada, the province and the great city of Toronto. I want my children to grow up in a province where they have the opportunity to find satisfying jobs and build fulfilling careers right here at home. I would like them to have the opportunity to give back to the city that raised them rather than having to go elsewhere for opportunity.”
Digital Journal: What issues need to be addressed in the Don Valley West riding? What responses have you received from residents?
Andrea Mandel-Campbell: “People are concerned about a number of issues. Seniors and young families are concerned about increasing taxes and skyrocketing hydro rates. Many New Canadians are frustrated by the lack of foreign credential recognition and the lack of job opportunities in general.
“Healthcare is also a major issue: physicians are fed up with the duplication and needless bureaucracy, patients are upset with the endless wait times. For those trying to commute to work, traffic and the stunted public transit system are an endless source of irritation. Massive debt and deficit and government waste in general are overarching themes.”
Digital Journal: Since the incumbent Member of Provincial Parliament is the Minister of Transportation, what do you feel has been some of the mistakes that both Kathleen Wynne and the governing party have made in relation to transit in the province?
Andrea Mandel-Campbell: “Toronto is recognized as having the worst gridlock in North America. According to the Board of Trade, congestion costs us $6-billion in lost productivity annually – not to mention the valuable time we lose with our families. One of the reasons we have such high unemployment in this city is because companies don’t want to headquarter here because of the commute times and lack of public transit. Dalton McGuinty’s Liberals have had 8 years to do something about this. They haven’t.”
Digital Journal: Are there any positive areas the Liberals have done since entering office and if so, how can the Tories improve or better them?
Andrea Mandel-Campbell: “I like the ban on cellphones in the car – which originated as a private members bill by PC MMP John O’Toole. I like the ban on street racing, originally introduced by PC MPP Frank Klees. It’s good to see the Liberals recognize good ideas brought forth by the Ontario PCs. I also like the ban on smoking with children in the car.”
Digital Journal: There have been several reports over the past month where former Progressive Conservative members have compared PC Leader Tim Hudak to the Tea Party. Do you believe Mr. Hudak is attempting to make the PCs into a version of the Tea Party?
Andrea Mandel-Campbell: “It’s a ridiculous, deliberately slanderous statement and I am personally offended. This is nothing more than the Liberal’s attempt to divert attention from their very dangerous tax-and-spend agenda that has doubled the province’s debt in eight years and turned us into the California of Canada.”
Digital Journal: On Wednesday, Green Party Leader Mike Schreiner complained about the attack ads between the Tories and the Grits. Do you feel that the PCs are attacking McGuinty and the Liberals – and vice versa – or are they just highlighting the incumbent’s record?
Andrea Mandel-Campbell: “I think it’s important to remind Ontarians of Dalton McGuinty’s record. Before each of the last two elections he promised he would not raise taxes. He even signed a pledge that he would not do so. He then proceeded to introduce the highest single tax hike in Ontario history.
“He says one thing and does another because he assumes the public will just roll over and take it. I don’t think that is how an elected official – the Premier – should treat voters.”
Digital Journal: Don Valley West and Leaside have generally been a more liberal riding in past election years, but now with a Conservative Member of Parliament, John Carmichael, and a two-term City Councillor, John Parker, is the riding starting to shift? If so, why?
Andrea Mandel-Campbell: “People realize that we are facing serious economic and fiscal challenges. The financial crisis and the current debt debacle in Europe and the US has been a huge wake up call for people that we cannot spend recklessly and rack up massive debts and deficits without significant repercussions down the line that our children will ultimately pay for.
“Ontario, once the economic engine of this country, has become a ‘have-not’ province for the first time in its history. Unemployment in Toronto is at 9% - essentially the same as the US. The Liberals not only squandered the opportunity to bolster the province’s competitiveness early on, but have put us in a dangerous position by drowning the province in debt. They cannot be trusted to manage the economy. Voters understand this.”
Digital Journal: In a recent Tweet, you noted that a resident said there needs to be more cougars in Queen’s Park. How did you respond to that?
Andrea Mandel-Campbell: “My first reaction was ‘I’m too young to be a cougar!’ Then I thought, Courtney Cox is a cougar, so it can’t be that bad. At least it’s better than being called The Taxman.”
Don Valley West Riding Information
The Don Valley West provincial electoral district was established in 1999 and is located across Eglinton Avenue East, York Mills Road, Don Mills Road and York East. Its first MPP was Progressive Conservative David Turnbull.
There are approximately 118,000 residents (2006 statistics) and contains nearly 78,000 voters.
Kathleen Wynne is the incumbent Liberal MPP and is facing competition from PC candidate Andrea Mandel-Campbell, New Democratic Party candidate Khalid Ahmed and Green candidate Louis Fliss.
The first scheduled debate will be on Sept. 22 at the St. Bonaventure Church (the debate dates may vary and may be revised).
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