Dionne Coley was called to the provincial Bar yesterday. In the next two weeks when Ontarians go to the polls, the 29-year-old law professor is counting on Lakeshore-Etobicoke voters to elect her as their next representative at Queen’s Park.
“This is one of the best times of my life and to think it could even get better is simply overwhelming,” said the New Democratic Party (NDP) member who was a Scarborough East public school trustee candidate in last October’s municipal elections. “The campaign has gone well and I am well received by community members, many of whom love the fact that I am teaching their young people while campaigning.”
Unlike most candidates who have put their full-time jobs on hold for a few months to campaign, Coley teaches Law courses five days a week at Humber College North campus in Rexdale and Seneca College.
She spends about four hours daily in the classroom teaching Introduction to Law, Professional Ethics, Tort Law and Criminal Procedures.
“Ideally, it would be great if I could give all my time to the campaign,” she said. “I still, however, spend quality time in the riding meeting constituents and debating the issues that are of concern to our residents. This is a very demanding period for me, but I am relishing it.”
Coley said residents call for improved health care and support for seniors, increased youth programs and services and affordable living standards.
“Life has become really expensive for many families in this community,” said Coley. “They say no matter how hard they manage their money and try to save, they just can’t seem to get ahead. With the NDP plan to take the HST off hydro, gas and home heating bills and to stop gasoline price gouging by setting a weekly price cap, that should alleviate some of the concerns. Our plan to reward businesses that create jobs in Ontario will also help boost our local economy and make life better for residents of the riding.”
Coley has been driven to lead and succeed since her early childhood at Heather Heights and Meadowvale Public Schools and Woburn Collegiate.
The academic standout completed her high school education in four years at Cedarbrae Collegiate Institute and graduated from the University of Windsor with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Criminology & Sociology before returning home to volunteer at a probation office in downtown Toronto. She was also a support worker for federal offenders on parole while studying for the Law School Admission Test (LSAT).
Coley attended the Thomas M. Cooley Law School in Michigan where she made the Dean’s List and became a youth advocate for the Lansing Teen Court.
A licensed attorney in New York, she also taught Advocacy, Administrative, Immigration and Landlord & Tenant Law at Algonquin Careers Academy in Mississauga.
The NDP’s Ruth Grier, a former Cabinet minister, held the riding from 1987-1995.