01/03/2013 05:51 EST | Updated 03/05/2013 05:12 EST

Hoskins listening carefully to what Ontarians are saying

Years of working with patients at home and abroad has made Dr. Eric Hoskins a good listener, a quality he thinks will come in handy should he become the next premier of Ontario.

"The best doctors are the good listeners, right?" he told CBC News in a recent interview.

"And so I’ve learned over 25 years to be a good listener," Hoskins added, alluding to his medical career that began more than two decades before he was elected to the Ontario legislature in 2009.

Since being elected to the legislature Hoskins has held two cabinet portfolios: Citizenship and Immigration and Children and Youth Services.

Now the MPP for the Toronto riding of St. Paul’s is one of seven candidates vying to replace outgoing Premier Dalton McGuinty, who has led the provincial Liberal party for the past 16 years.

Since entering the leadership race, Hoskins said he has been putting his listening skills to the test, seeking out the views of a variety of Ontarians to see what they want for their province and out of their government.

Small-town roots

Hoskins grew up in Simcoe, Ont., where his parents raised their family of five. They still live there today.

"It's really that small-town upbringing, the youngest of five, two amazing parents that taught me the importance of community, the important of integrity, respect and hard work," Hoskins said.

He went on to attend medical school at McMaster University and later co-founded the War Child Canada charity with his wife, Dr. Samantha Nutt. Hoskins is also well known for his work as a human rights advocate and humanitarian.

"When you live overseas and you see people living in very difficult circumstances, you get a great appreciation for what we have here in Ontario and in Canada," said Hoskins.

If given the opportunity to lead, Hoskins is hoping that he can help build a better Ontario, while steering the province through the challenges before it.

His vision for Ontario is one of "a province where everyone has access to opportunity and prosperity, but where no one is left behind."

Outside of the legislature, Hoskins said it is his preference to spend as much time as possible with his wife and their son, Rhys, as well as with friends and family.

Hoskins is an Officer of the Order of Canada and received the United Nations Lester B. Pearson Peace Medal as well as the Governor General's Meritorious Service Cross.