Sudbury

NDP candidate for Sault Ste. Marie has personal connections to issues in the riding

Having grown up in Sault Ste. Marie, Sara McCleary says she understands the issues in the city on a personal level, and thinks her lived experience makes her the right person to represent the riding in Ottawa.

McCleary is a freelance journalist and columnist at Sault This Week

Sara McCleary is the NDP candidate for Sault Ste. Marie. (Sara McCleary)

Having grown up in Sault Ste. Marie, Sara McCleary says she understands the issues in the city on a personal level, and thinks her experience makes her the right person to represent the riding in Ottawa.

Whether it's the downturn of the steel industry, the lack of employment opportunities, or the difficulty retaining talent, Sara McCleary has felt the issues personally.

"I want to represent the people of the Sault who are going through the same struggles as I am," she said, "the everyday person in the Sault, not the lawyers and the doctors who are making hundreds of thousands a year."

The issues

McCleary thinks that there is a balance to be struck between protecting the environment and the riding's steel industry. She says that large polluters like steel manufacturers shouldn't be exempt from the carbon tax. At the same time, she says that the government needs to work with those companies to help reduce their emissions.

The federal government needs to be "helping them to invest in new technologies and greener technologies and reducing their emissions and then they won't have to pay those taxes," she said.

Creating jobs and retaining talent is another issue that McCleary thinks needs more attention. 

"I know every politician promises to create jobs, but that's something that is definitely close to my heart," she said. 

"I myself have struggled to find a good, family sustaining, full time job and I know I'm not the only one. I've got friends that I went to school with that have been leaving [the city] in droves. My sister has gone to Toronto. We hear about it all the time, that people at just leaving the city because they can't find good work here."

McCleary added that she really wants to see good jobs coming to Sault Ste. Marie, and it's something that she will be pushing for in Ottawa. 

Getting the right education

There is a disconnect between the jobs that students are being promised, and the actual state of the job market, McCleary said.

"I was told 'hey, go to teachers college and you'll become a teacher, they need all these teachers.' So everybody did that," she said. "And then we didn't need teachers anymore."

She thinks there should be more focus on hands-on skills than abstract thinking in the education system.

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