Dr. Karen Mock’s extensive leadership experience extends from public service to social activism. The certified teacher and educational psychologist is now trying her hand at politics as the federal Liberal candidate for Thornhill in the next federal elections. She was officially nominated in September 2009, three weeks after announcing her candidacy.
At a fundraiser last week, federal Member of Parliament Carolyn Bennett – one of the event’s four co-chairs along with Ken Dryden, Elinor Caplan and John McCallum – said the Liberals are very fortunate to have Mock in their corner.
“Karen’s years of engagement and service in defending human rights speaks for itself,” said the Democratic Renewal critic for the Official Opposition. “The many awards and accolades she has received are testament to her commitment to helping others and leading the fight against discrimination, racism and anti-Semitism in all their forms.
“She teaches what she advocates and her involvement in both the classroom and as an adviser attests to the importance she has attached to the educational experience and how it can help transform individuals and communities. Her history of achievement and her trailblazing work are truly remarkable…Canada deserves the kind of leadership that Karen Mock brings to the table and I am looking forward to her joining us as a member of our caucus.”
A University of Toronto Ph.D. graduate in Applied Psychology, Mock is a former executive director of the Canadian Race Relations Foundation and national director of the League for Human Rights of B’Nai Brith Canada.
She was appointed chair of the Hate Crimes Community Working Group, reporting to the provincial government in December 2006. She also served as senior policy advisor on Diversity and Equity to the Minister of Education for the development and delivery of Ontario’s Equity and Inclusive Education Strategy that was released in April 2009.
“I am running to bring people and communities together and also because of the many Status of Women program cutbacks in the last few years,” said Mock, a past president of the Ontario Multicultural Association and board member of the Urban Alliance on Race Relations.
She presented her game plan on how she intends to build effective allies and allegiance to recapture the riding the Liberals held from 1997, a year after the electoral district was created, to 2008.
“It’s not a question of who is going to win the argument,” she said. “It’s a question of how are you strategic. We don’t win and we aren’t strategic if we are not at the table. We have to have the credibility to be at every decision-making table. We don’t pre-empt the conversations that are going to happen at the United Nations or conferences. We have to have the credibility as effective negotiators and mediators to really bring people together so that we can counter evil.”
Mock poked some fun at Conservative MP Peter Kent who she will face in the next federal elections. The Minister of State for Foreign Affairs (Americas) spent nearly four decades as a journalist before joining the House of Commons.
“We have got to get me out there and get my name and face at least as well known as a certain TV news announcer,” she told her supporters. “I have been working on the issues all my life and making the news while he was reporting on it.”
Markham-Unionville MP John McCallum is convinced Mock will bring an intensity and knowledge to the House of Commons that will only be good for Canada.
“I am really happy that she has decided to run for office,” he said. “I’m sure that it has not been an easy decision for her, given the work she has been involved in for so long.”
Caplan said Mock’s work in the area of human rights, multiculturalism, race relations and hate crime is formidable.
“Her leadership in, and devotion to, all aspects of human rights and social activism is so genuine that you can’t help but examine your own shortfalls,” added the former minister of Immigration & Citizenship.
Over the years, Mock has supported initiatives and freely given her expertise to community projects, including the Project for the Advancement of Childhood Education (PACE), which supports basic schools in Jamaica.
In 1988, she participated in the Van Leer conference on early childhood education at the University of the West Indies (UWI) in Jamaica and she later volunteered to evaluate the degree program. In addition, she compiled a guide for future program development, provided library books and articles for reference and was an active participant in the UWI Mona campus summer course.