Former journalist Jennifer Hollett will be the NDP candidate in the new riding of University-Rosedale in October’s federal election.
The 39-year-old Annex resident, who worked with CBC, CTV and MuchMusic during her decade-spanning TV career before pursuing a master’s degree in public administration at Harvard University, launched her campaign on May 31.
She lost to another former journalist, Linda McQuaig, for the NDP nomination heading into a 2013 by-election in the old riding of Toronto Centre, won by Liberal Chrystia Freeland. She campaigned for McQuaig against Freeland (now the incumbent in University-Rosedale), and served as Olivia Chow’s digital director in last year’s mayoral race.
The new riding, created in 2012, stretches from Dundas Street in the south to Dupont Street and parts of St. Clair Avenue East in the north, and from west of Bathurst Street to Bayview Avenue in the east. It includes Chinatown, Kensington Market, Little Italy, the University of Toronto and Christie Pits, in addition to Yorkville, Forest Hill and Rosedale.
“The NDP is in a position for the first time in history to form a government,” a confident Hollett told the Town Crier. “We have incredible momentum right now throughout Toronto, especially in University-Rosedale, and I look forward to attracting a lot of new people to the party.”
In addition to her media experience, Hollett has a long history of advocating for social justice. She has trained journalists in Sierra Leone through Journalists For Human Rights, volunteered with the humanitarian organization CARE Canada, and worked for charities Leading Change Network and Plan Canada.
“I got into journalism to make a difference in the world, and was feeling I was having a hard time doing that,” she said when asked why she decided to enter the political sphere.
The NDP’s views on issues such as the environment, health care, housing, and challenges facing women and youth aligned with her own, she said, so she returned to school with an eye to joining the party.
Hollett has lived in University-Rosedale since 1997. She said she looks forward to uniting the disparate neighbourhoods toward a common cause: providing a clear alternative to Stephen Harper’s Conservative government.
“I was in Edmonton for the NDP’s historic win in Alberta, and I think that is a good example of people looking for an alternative,” she said. “We have an opportunity this year to really bring change to Ottawa, and I think the NDP is the only one really offering that change.”
In addition to incumbent Freeland, she will be up against entrepreneur Karim Jivraj, who is running for the Conservatives.
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