When Whitby-Oshawa voters go to the polls on November 17 in a by-election to replace late Finance Minister Joe Flaherty, Celina Caesar-Chavannes will be one of the names on the ballot.
The married mother of three and Liberal candidate has stepped up her campaign with three weeks remaining before the elections.
“Now that a date has been set, the real test begins and I am stepping up the tempo,” she said at her campaign office that’s outfitted with a play pen for children while their parents stuff envelopes, answer telephones and perform other chores. “However, our ground game and strategy haven’t changed.”
Caesar-Chavannes’ day starts at 6:45 a.m. canvassing commuters at the Whitby GO station. After a brief break, she spends the next 10 hours campaigning in the riding that the Conservatives have held for the last eight years.
“It’s hard work and the toughest thing I have done, but I have had to toil for everything that has come my way,” she said. “The thing that makes this work is the strong support from family, friends and my campaign team who believe in me.”
The political neophyte said the struggling economy and high youth unemployment are high among residents’ concerns.
“Durham has one of the highest unemployment rates in the country when it comes to young people,” she said. “I have a daughter who is completing high school and will soon be off to university. I wonder if there is going to be a job for her when she graduates.”
A graduate of the University of Toronto and the University of Phoenix, Caesar-Chavannes is a former research assistant with the Rotman Research Institute and research co-ordinator with the University Health Network and the University of Toronto.
The Rotman School of Management Executive Master of Business Administration candidate lectures widely on the inclusion of marginalized populations in clinical research.
Failing to secure full-time employment after graduating with a Master of Business Administration degree inspired Caesar-Chavannes to launch ReSolve Research Solutions (RRS) 10 years ago. It’s a site management and clinical research consulting firm whose clients include pharmaceutical companies, private firms and non-governmental organization.
The company employs a novel approach to research management that provides clients with innovative strategies for meeting deadlines through regulatory and ethical compliance and also collaboration and stakeholder education.
Liberal leader Justin Trudeau joined Caesar-Chavannes for the official opening of her campaign office recently.
The Grenadian-born entrepreneur’s major contenders are former Whitby mayor, Pat Perkins, who will represent the Conservatives and New Democratic Party candidate, Trish McAuliffe, who finished second in the popularity vote in the 2011 federal elections.