Meet a Toronto-Danforth Candidate: Andrew Keyes
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Meet a Toronto-Danforth Candidate: Andrew Keyes

The Toronto-Danforth by-election to replace Jack Layton happens on March 19. Here, Torontoist aims to tell you who’s running, and why.

Photo courtesy of the candidate's campaign website.

Andrew Keyes is the Conservative candidate running in next month’s Toronto-Danforth by-election; currently he is the president of an online advertising and web-design company called Armantus, Inc..

In addition to that, Keyes is also a communications specialist: “Andrew is a recognized leader in the communications industry,” his campaign website proclaims, adding that he “has assisted private and public sector corporations with their communications strategies for over twenty-five years.” And indeed, his message to Torontoist was clearly delivered. “We do not have any availability in Andrew’s schedule,” the communications director for his campaign told us in an email when we asked for a 10-minute phone interview.

Despite not having the chance to speak with Keyes directly, we do know a bit about him.

According to his biography in the 2011 edition of Canadian Who’s Who, Keyes was born some 51 years ago in the Eastern Ontario town of Smiths Falls. His profile on social-networking site indicates that he attended North York’s CW Jefferys Collegiate Institute and earned a degree in film and photography from Ryerson in 1984. Between then and now, his company website says, Keyes spent 20 years “in the advertising agency world,” where “his diverse body of work has received international recognition.”

The seemingly technologically-savvy Keyes helped found the non-profit Association of Internet Marketing and Sales (a forum for web-based professionals) in 1996, and he has also chaired an advisory committee of the postgraduate new media program at Georgian College.

His campaign website boasts about Keyes’ “deep roots” in the Danforth area—where, the website says, he bought a house in 1988. But Keyes now lives at Yonge and Sheppard; in 2007, he ran unsuccessfully against Paul Calandra for the Conservative nomination in the riding of Oak Ridges-Markham.

Although his campaign website doesn’t touch on any ward-specific issues, it does tell us more generally that Keyes, not surprisingly, prefers smaller government, lower taxes, and balanced budgets. “The best assurance for a strong social safety net that is available to help those in need is a strong economy,” his website says.

The other thing about Keyes: he has his substantial work cut out for him. The constituents of Toronto-Danforth have never sent a Conservative to Ottawa.

CORRECTION: March 2, 2012, 1:32 P.M. This post originally stated that Keyes resides in Markham, which was inaccurate. The post has been updated to reflect that he currently lives at Yonge and Sheppard.