BL­IZ­ZARD HITS CAM­PAIGN TRAIL

Ex-Sun scribe well-schooled in ed­u­ca­tion is­sues SUE-ANN

Toronto Sun - - NEWS - LEVY

Un­like many can­di­dates who run for the school board, this one isn’t in­ter­ested in us­ing the trustee role as a step­ping stone to big­ger and bet­ter things.

Meet my former Toronto Sun col­league, long­time Queen’s Park colum­nist and good friend Christina Bl­iz­zard, who’s run­ning for pub­lic school trustee in Scar­bor­ough South­west.

She says she’s do­ing so be­cause she re­ally cares about school board is­sues and is pre­pared to be an “ef­fec­tive voice” for the area.

Un­like in­cum­bent Parthi Kan­de­vel, who couldn’t even wait out one term to run for the provin­cial Lib­eral nom­i­na­tion in his area this past Jan­uary (he lost), she says, if elected, she in­tends to de­vote her time ad­vo­cat­ing for the stu­dents, par­ents and schools in a part of the city she feels is of­ten ne­glected by the highly po­lit­i­cal trustees on the Toronto District School Board (TDSB).

“I’m not a mem­ber of any po­lit­i­cal party,” says Bl­iz­zard. “Peo­ple here feel very fed up see­ing (school board) pol­i­tics as a step­ping stone to big­ger and bet­ter things.”

She says peo­ple are also tired of be­ing walked over by the “down­town voices” at the TDSB.

“The ide­o­log­i­cal types dom­i­nate the school board and, mean­while, par­ents here can’t get a play­ground,” she said, adding that she has seen how hor­ri­ble traf­fic is around the schools she has vis­ited.

I spent an af­ter­noon can­vass­ing with Bl­iz­zard and meet­ing par­ents out­side a lo­cal school (she vis­its schools twice a day, first thing in the morn­ing and when the af­ter­noon bell rings) to see what it was like for her to dip her toe into pol­i­tics for the first time ever af­ter hold­ing the feet of provin­cial politi­cians to the fire for 23 years.

She says she was very naive when she first de­cided to throw her­self into the

Ward 18 trustee race against nine op­po­nents.

It never oc­curred to her that she had to raise money and pay for signs.

But with the help of friends and fam­ily, she has got­ten her cards and her signs out and is out door-knock­ing and vis­it­ing schools sev­eral hours a day.

“I’ve learned a huge amount just go­ing door to door ... Peo­ple are re­ally en­gaged,” she says. “Peo­ple are so open and wel­come and kind to me.”

Out­side Birch Cliff pub­lic school at 3:15 p.m., Bl­iz­zard greeted a steady stream of moms and dads, telling them she likes to “fight for peo­ple” and “help them (par­ents) get through the (ed­u­ca­tion) sys­tem.”

One mom with two kids in the school tells Bl­iz­zard Birch Cliff “lit­er­ally needs ev­ery­thing” — new boil­ers, proper elec­tri­cal wiring and so on.

“I have yet to see a school that is worse,” she said.

Glenn Kremp, who had come to pick up his 4-year-old daugh­ter, Evy, told Bl­iz­zard he had al­ready voted for her.

He said the in­cum­bent “didn’t seem to care and was not help­ful.”

Kremp said he felt “fresh ideas” were needed and he thought Bl­iz­zard would have those fresh ideas.

He added that he felt strongly that this is one of the most im­por­tant elec­tions with all the changes at City Hall and Queen’s Park and they need some­one who takes their ward se­ri­ously, one of­ten for­got­ten.

“It’s so im­por­tant for peo­ple to do their re­search,” Kremp said. “It is such an im­por­tant elec­tion.”

For more in­for­ma­tion on Bl­iz­zard, check out her web­site at christin­abliz­zard.ca or e-mail her at christi­na4trustee@gmail.com

“I’m not a mem­ber of any po­lit­i­cal party. Peo­ple here feel very fed up see­ing (school board) pol­i­tics as a step­ping stone to big­ger and bet­ter things.”

Christina Bl­iz­zard

Scooplevy

ERNEST DOROSZUK/TORONTO SUN PHO­TOS

Former Sun po­lit­i­cal writer Christina Bl­iz­zard hits Bluffers Park Ma­rina yes­ter­day, look­ing for votes. Bl­iz­zard is run­ning for Toronto District School Board trustee in Scar­bor­ough South­west.

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