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NPA mayoral candidate Kirk LaPointe says that, over the course of his career as a journalist, he has filed and overseen the filing of thousands of Freedom of Information requests.

Now, the former managing editor of The Vancouver Sun is making his first bid for political office, and he's running on a promise to create the most open government in Canada.

When asked what all those FOI requests mean to him today, he says the process has "stiffened his spine and determination to create open government." He calls the promise his "policy hill to die on."

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Mr. LaPointe, who got his start as a reporter in 1980 and has held executive positions in newsroom across the country, moved to Vancouver in 2003.

He puts his move from journalism to municipal politics down to "a desire to find a new way to contribute to the public good."

The son of a single mother, Mr. LaPointe has never learned the identity of his father, and grew up eating butter-and-sugar sandwiches while he and his mother waited for her next factory paycheque. He has tried to change voters' perceptions of the centre-right Non-Partisan Association, telling reporters: "I'm not the NPA leader you might think you know."

Although he recognizes he now lives a life of relative privilege, he says "you can never outlive that history."

Mr. LaPointe has worked as the CBC ombudsman, a host of CBC Newsworld, executive editor of The National Post, editor-in-chief of The Hamilton Spectator and Southam News, head of CTV News, and as a general news editor and Ottawa bureau chief for The Canadian Press.

Mr. LaPointe is now an adjunct professor at the UBC Graduate School of Journalism, where he teaches a course in media ethics. Since the campus falls outside the Vancouver electoral district, he will not be able to vote for himself next Saturday. He has promised to move into the city if elected.

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