Local activists gave MPP Ross Romano an early Christmas gift on Thursday afternoon when they gathered outside his local constituency office downtown, in hopes of giving him the “gift of knowledge.”
“We don’t feel he’s representing the people of the Sault fully and as we would like to be represented,” rally organizer Sara McCleary told SaultOnline. “We feel that he’s really representing Doug Ford and his wishes more than Saultites.”
McCleary said the biggest issue is worker’s rights and Bill 47, which is why she decided to hold this rally. Other concerns include cuts to mental health funding, loosened environmental regulations, the loss of the Child Advocate’s office and more.
As a journalist, McCleary said she’s been trying to stay behind the scenes and hasn’t had a chance to speak to Romano. This rally is the first time she’s been forefront instead of staying behind the scenes. She said she might be looking to meet with Romano in the near future.
“This is really important to me and I think that it’s time that I step out,” she said.
Tara Maszczakiewicz, the Regional VP for OPSEU Region 6, was one of the activists at Thursday’s rally. She told SaultOnline that Ross told her he hasn’t been receiving any complaints from his constituents, which she thinks is untrue.
“Many constituents, I believe, do not agree with the provincial government, the Ford government’s decisions to date,” she said. “I believe that we should have an environmental commissioner, I believe we should have a child advocate, I believe that many of the people in Sault Ste. Marie agree with me, that they want their water to be safe to drink, and that we want our children to get a good education.”
Maszczakiewicz said she thinks rallying is an important way to bring these issues into the public focus, so the public knows what the issues are and to hold Romano accountable.
“If they agree that this should happen and that we should be looking into some of the decisions that are being made by the PC government, that they can come and join us,” she said.
Both McCleary and Maszczakiewicz say the community has been very receptive and supportive, joining the Holding Ross Romano Accountable Facebook page and also joining them at the rally.
McCleary said she hopes that this will help Romano understand their concerns of misrepresentation and change the way he’s been voting.
“I don’t really see that happening (though),” she said, “so the realistic goal that we’re really just raising awareness among people who might not be otherwise really closely paying attention to politics and raising awareness of the issues and what’s going on so that in three and a half years from now, either Ross will decide that he’d better shake things up or the voters will shake things up.”