Seeking Standing as an Independent Candidate
As an update and as some of you may know, I was seeking nomination to stand as the Ontario Liberal Party's Candidate in the Sault Ste Marie riding.
The Party provided me with notice as of Thursday at around 330 that they would not continue with the vetting process. I don't want to focus on what is in the past and can't be changed. I want to focus on the future.
This is an update on my intentions to be an independent candidate.
This means that I will not be associated with nor have the support of any political party. I will be running as an individual. This means the only thing I have is my voice as well as supporters.
My goal is two-fold, to get on the ballot and to bring a local voice with a local perspective to the Legislature.
If you don't want to support me (you don't have to explain), you can ignore the rest of this post.
I provide an outline of the issues I want to focus on below.
In order to get my name on the ballot and if you want to support me, two things have to happen:
You need to be an elector - registered voter in the Sault Ste Marie riding. Find that out here: https://www.elections.on.ca/en/voting-in-ontario/voter-registration.htmlhttps://www.elections.on.ca/en/voting-in-ontario/voter-registration.html
Once registered or confirmed, email firstname.lastname@example.org or call/text 705-230-0712 saying you want to sign the papers. We have to make arrangements to sign with a witness present.
I need to get my papers in to Elections Ontario by May 12, the absolute last day - I would aim for May 9 to allow me to review and fix any deficiencies. Ideally, I would like to aim for the first deadline, May 3 - where I send directly to Elections Ontario and get an answer sooner rather than later.
The top three issues I am focusing on include:
Firearms - ensuring that hunters, Indigenous rights and women's rights are heard and valued.
The discussion on firearms right now is ignoring northern living as well as Indigenous rights. It is also ignoring evidence regarding how domestic violence looks in northern and rural regions. As an Indigenous woman, a PAL holder (unrestricted/restricted), and a domestic violence survivor as well as an advocate for women's issues, this issue is important to me. It needs to be evidence-based and informed.
Marginalized workers - reviewing the definition of an employee in the Employment Services Act to ensure a modern approach and one that protects exploited and vulnerable workers.
The issue is that as a former stripper, I am aware how strip club owners and management exploit their most prized workers, strippers. Strip clubs often have strippers sign exploitative/illegal contracts that attempt to classify them as independent contractors, leaving them out of minimum wage and labour protection rights guaranteed/protected by law to other employees in the strip club like waitresses/servers. I would like to advocate for the inclusion of the definition of an employee to include "a person integral to the business" - there is case law that says strippers are not integral to the business and thus, are not an employee. I would like to include this definition to refer to businesses that may have to obtain licenses to offer certain services (like a strip club license). This is deeply personal to me because I was stabbed while at work by another dancer and I had no recourse for labour protections. I ultimately left dancing shortly after that incident. This change, however, could have far-reaching impacts on other exploited workers where workplaces try to use similar illegal contracts.
Victims of police violence - reviewing the service gaps for these victims as well as improving service delivery of police services for victims of police violence.
Again, this issue is deeply personal. I believe I was the victim of police intimidation recently in my role as defence counsel. It is a crime to intimidate a justice system participant who include, witnesses, judges, and lawyers like defence counsel. I recently made a TikTok about this: here. In this experience, I had to take extraordinary steps to have my police complaint referred to an outside agency for investigation with no conflicts or close working relationships. If I was not a lawyer, this referral likely wouldn't have happened. Further, I also had to take extraordinary steps to have my file referred to a victim services agency who can help me - the agencies are limited by their geography. So, the victims' services who I talked to kept saying I would be referred to the city where I had the complaint against the police (as defence counsel I am aware how close victims' services and police work together and I didn't feel safe). I had a really bad experience and it shouldn't be this hard for a victim of police violence, fearing her safety, to get help. Police should have an obligation to report the complaint to an external agency to investigate civilian complaints that include criminal activity (the police I filed a complaint refused to do so). Victims' services should also have an obligation to make referrals to services outside their service area when there is likely a conflict of interest with the local police force and if requested to ensure a client-centred/trauma-informed approach.