Ontario Liberals drop 18-year-old Sault candidate, reject Indigenous lawyer

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Within 24 hours, the Ontario Liberals cheered, then dumped their 18-year-old candidate in Sault Ste. Married.

Aidan Kallioinen, a high school student from Espanola, Ont., said he decided to run for the party in Sault Ste. Marie, about 240 kilometers from his home, when he learned that the party did not yet have a candidate in the northeastern Ontario town.

Kallioinen said he was already volunteering for Algoma-Manitoulin Liberal candidate Timothy Vine and decided to apply.

He sent in his application on Monday, May 9, and said it was accepted later that day.

“At 8 p.m. that evening, I was nominated as a candidate,” Kallioinen said.

But the next day he received a call from the Liberal Party telling him he would no longer continue in that role. He said party officials told him a media report had surfaced alleging he had made inappropriate comments on an online gambling forum.

Kallioinen denied the allegations.

“My memory is a little fuzzy on this, but I think I was 13 or 14 at the time and some of the members of this forum – myself, had no knowledge of my name being used in this way on the forum – but some forum members have engaged in, I suspect, what could be considered derogatory comments,” he said.

He said his name was on the forum against his knowledge, but the Liberals dropped him as a candidate because of his association with the forum.

“I understand their decision and I respect their decision,” Kallioinen said. “I obviously think that kind of thing becomes a liability for any political party after a while.”

In an email to CBC News, Ontario Liberal Party press secretary Andrea Ernesaks said information about Kallioinen was not brought to their attention during the vetting process.

“We have spoken to Mr. Kallioinen and informed him that he will not be running for our Liberal team,” the email read.

Sault Ste. Marie’s lawyer, Naomi Sayers, is running as an independent candidate in the city. She applied to run for the Ontario Liberals, but the party said it couldn’t check her social media in time. (Submitted by Naomi Sayers)

A liberal hope turned independent

Naomi Sayers, an Aboriginal lawyer from Sault Ste. Marie, said she applied for the Liberal candidacy in early April, but was rejected later that month.

“Given the additional information you have provided in recent days, the enormous volume of documents (including over 200,000 social media posts) that still require review and research, and the ongoing legal proceedings to which you left, we won’t be able to complete the vetting process in time for you to run as a nomination contestant,” reads an email Sayers received from the Ontario Liberal Nomination Commissioner. , Charrissa Klander, April 28.

Sayers has spoken openly on social media about her past as a sex worker.

She said the Liberals never said they rejected her nomination because of her background, but added that she provided them with content about her story.

“I gave them all my problematic messages on social media and some of them were like, listen, I’m talking about my sex work. I’m talking about when I did drugs,” she said. declared.

Sayers is running as an independent candidate in Sault Ste. Marie, and says it’s important to her to represent people in her community who don’t feel heard.

“Growing up in Canada as an Indigenous woman, I’m well aware of how our experiences are dismissed. We’re just invalidated,” she said.

“You know, even growing up in the Catholic school system, if I was a victim of racism, the teachers would say, well, that never happened or that wasn’t my intention.”

Sayers added that government accountability is also an issue close to his heart.

On Wednesday evening, the Ontario Liberals nominated Liam Hancock as their candidate for Sault Ste. Married.

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