Election 2015: Conservative candidate aims to make a difference

NANAIMO – Mark MacDonald says region needs voice in government.

Mark MacDonald is the Conservative Party candidate for Nanaimo-Ladysmith in the 42nd federal election.

Mark MacDonald is the Conservative Party candidate for Nanaimo-Ladysmith in the 42nd federal election.

Whether it is on the ice or in the boardroom, the Conservative Party of Canada’s Nanaimo-Ladysmith candidate Mark MacDonald knows a thing or two about working hard.

MacDonald, 54, came to the Harbour City in the late 1970s and played goal as a member the Nanaimo Clippers during the 1980-81 season. The following year, MacDonald attended United States International University (now Alliance University) in San Diego, Calif., where he studied international relations and played goal for the school’s Div. 1 hockey team. In 1983, MacDonald was named to the National Dean’s List for his academic and athletic accomplishments.

Following his return to the Harbour City in the late 1980s, MacDonald has become an active member in the business community. Today he is the owner of Communication Ink Media and Public Relations and Invest Northwest Publishing Ltd., which produces the Business Examiner publications.

MacDonald says he is running because he wants to make a difference in the newly formed Nanaimo-Ladysmith riding.

“This is the best way I can help Nanaimo and Ladysmith,” he said. “I do believe that the Conservatives are going to get back in and Nanaimo-Ladysmith needs someone on the government’s side of the table to ensure that we get our fair share of programs and opportunities.”

In addition to his own business ventures, MacDonald was managing editor of the Nanaimo Daily News from 2012-14.

“The best part of my job there was that I was out listening to people and finding the pulse of the community and trying to do something constructive to help and that is what I would do in Ottawa,” he said.

MacDonald believes the biggest issue in the Nanaimo-Ladysmith riding is related to the economy, adding that the Nanaimo Airport is one potential place that could create local jobs for young people.

“There are not enough opportunities for young people to make decent income, to raise families, to buy houses,” he said. “We need to give our young people more than opportunities to sell coffee to kayakers. We need to provide opportunities and I think there are some great opportunities.”

MacDonald also sees room for improvement in education, which he believes could do with more investment.

“It is proven that if you can get a child’s education reading level up three grades it significantly enhances their employability,” he said. “That is a real problem here and I would love to be involved with setting up a social impact bond where people could invest … to make these opportunities for young kids.”