By Alexandra Holyk
In an interview with The Eyeopener on Tuesday, Ien said the reason she decided to enter the political arena was the social issues that she discussed on the talk show, including the murder of George Floyd in the United States and the death of Regis Korchinski-Paquet in Toronto.
“It is one thing to think about these things; it is one thing to speak to Canada using the microphone that I had. It’s quite another to actually serve,” Ien said.
The Ryerson alumna—who graduated from the RTA program in 1991—said her focus throughout her journalism, and now political career, has always been about the youth and asking, “Who’s coming up?” within the community.
Ien mentioned that one of her main goals is to collaborate with young people in creating a mentorship program, while also focusing on other aspects of their lives, including mental health, addiction and homelessness. She also said she wants to connect with community members to find out how to best serve them.
“It’s a lot to just jump in and assume that people want certain things and need certain things,” Ien said. “I think it’s about talking. So I am in the business of listening and learning and then taking action.”
Ien is also a member of Ryerson’s Board of Governors’ executive committee, a position she’s held since 2016.
She said she’s worked with the board to bring a “digital aspect” in sharing what Ryerson is doing with the community. “It has been an amazing thing to have gone to the university and now be part of a team that governs it and makes decisions for the university,” said Ien.
In her Twitter thread announcing her bid for the Liberal candidacy, Ien mentioned that she’s taken a leave from her broadcast career at Bell Media.
“If I’m successful, then that’s something that I’m going to have to leave behind, because I’m an MP and I’ll be working with the community,” Ien told The Eye. “But I never close the door on anything.”
Ien added that starting her journey in the political realm “wasn’t altogether comfortable, but necessary.”
“It’s a message to walk towards the discomfort because that’s where the lessons are,” Ien said. “[The mission is] just encouraging people to…have the courage to move forward in order to help the community they live in.”
The federal by-election for Toronto Centre will take place on Oct. 26.