Ontario Liberals fail to approve nomination for Naomi Sayers so she’s running as an independent in election

Sayers says she was approached by a friend, who had ties to the party, to run in northern Ontario,


First Nations lawyer Naomi Sayers says she’s running as an independent candidate in the upcoming Ontario election after the Liberals refused to approve her nomination papers.

Sayers, from Garden River First Nation, says she feels the time is right to run for office and she wants to be a representative for the underrepresented in her hometown of Sault Ste. Marie.

“I get a sense that they are feeling unheard, dismissed,” she says “Especially in government, rarely do we hear Sault Ste. Marie mentioned and the policies that are put forward are usually urban-centric and, I don’t want to pick on Toronto, but very Toronto-centric.”

So, when a friend of hers who is connected to the Liberal party approached her to seek the party nomination, she decided to take the plunge.

But it was not to be that easy.

After submitting her nomination package and not hearing anything for a month, Sayers says she started to believe she was getting the runaround.

“I just felt that for some reason it wasn’t being taken seriously and I said, ‘May 3, if I don’t hear from you I’m withdrawing, this shouldn’t take that long,’” she says. “But their reasons were that because of the volume of information I gave them, they wouldn’t have time.”

She says she never received a firm answer on why the Liberals didn’t approve her nomination application.

Sayers says she has been open about her involvement in the sex trade when she was younger and is perplexed that good standing in both the Ontario and Alberta law associations wasn’t good enough for the Liberals.

“When I was called to the bar, you have to undergo good character investigation and some of the questions they (Liberals) were asking are similar to good character issues. So, it was essentially, ‘Oh great, I have this nice little package from this previous proceeding, here you go.’

“That’s how I got it so quickly compiled together.”

Either way, she says she has moved on and is happy to run as an independent.

“I think people who are not used to reaching out to politicians are now reaching out to me. They feel a little bit more comfortable and I’m trying to make opportunities for me to meet with individuals and talk about the issues that matter to them. There is that freedom, right?”

APTN News reached out to the Ontario Liberal Party to ask about the nomination of Sayers but no one responded.

The election is on June 2.

Fraser spent the last 20 years working in both print and radio in Saskatchewan – mostly in the northern part of the province. Before joining APTN’s Ottawa bureau, he was news director for the Missinipi Broadcasting Corporation working out of their Prince Albert office. He holds a bachelor of arts degree in political science from Carleton University and a diploma of journalism from Algonquin College.