By RON FANFAIR
CTV News diversity producer and news reporter Karlene Nation has taken a leave of absence to pursue politics.
She filed her nomination papers two weeks ago, seeking to become the city councilor in Trinity-Spadina (Ward 19) where she has been a resident for the past five years.
“I have had an interest in getting involved at the city level for a long time,” said Nation, who covered the City Hall beat and played a leading role in pushing CTV to cover the seat of local government on a full-time basis. “This interest sort of peaked as the election date grew nearer.
“First of all, I had to make sure that a number of things were in place for me in terms of getting a leave of absence from work because I will not be drawing a salary for the next two months.”
Nation, who has permanent double vision and no peripheral eyesight after doctors removed a brain tumor in 1998, said she’s running on a platform of strong fiscal management of taxpayers’ money.
“The primary motivation for me doing this is that I have been really, like many people, dissatisfied with how the city has been run for the past eight years,” the 2010 Paralympics Winter Games torch bearer said. “The woeful legacy of wasteful spending stands out. I felt that instead of standing on the sideline and complaining incessantly about the problems, I figured why not get involved and do something.
“We need to get a handle on the debt problem, show some leadership around the subway issue and control wasteful spending and all of those pet projects that councilors are pushing on the taxpayers.”
Nation, who completed a two-year journalism program at Humber College, made it clear she’s running as a right-of-centre candidate.
“I am being pretty straight up front with that,” she said. “My thing is that we need to have more right-of-centre candidates elected to city hall so that we can beat back the aggressively negative impact of this left leaning council that we have had for the past eight years.”
Coming to Canada from Jamaica in 1976 as a 17-year-old single mom, Nation completed high school and worked as a waitress at night to put herself through the University of Toronto (Mississauga campus), where she graduated in 1983 with a political science degree.
“Politics is a passion of mine,” said the former Toronto Star intern and Globe and Mail Report on Business writer who joined CTV News in March 1993. “I love talking about politics and economics and the way these things interact with people’s lives. We can’t look at politics as a separate entity. Everything we do impacts people at a personal level.”
Nation, who also worked at CBC and was a communications specialist at the Toronto Stock Exchange, is the second TV personality to enter the city councilor race in the October 25 municipal elections. She’s running against Sean McCormick, who left the anchor chair at SportsNet last June to contest the Ward 19 seat held by mayoral candidate Joe Pantalone.
Volunteers for Nation’s campaign can contact her at (647) 857-4946 or through her website at electkarlenenation.com.