Ashlyn Steele wants those elected June 2 in Ontario to represent their constituents ahead of their political parties.
“Every riding should have their own voice… not the MPP being told what to vote for by their party,” said Steele, the New Blue Party candidate in Barrie-Innisfil during the provincial election campaign. “We want to be more involved with what the community wants, versus the leader of a party.”
Steele, 26, a licensed senior paralegal, says she’s no fan of party politics or even politics as it’s now played out by the Progressive Conservatives, New Democrats and Liberals in Ontario.
“The three main establishment parties kind of take a turn towards a one-party view,” Steele said. “They play this act in Queen's Park, going back and forth and come (voting) bill time, every single party, regardless of the debate they give, will respond in the exact same way and they all end up voting in favour of another party’s bill.
“There’s no true opposition in Queen's Park. Every party votes the exact same way.”
New Blue is a Tory splinter party, born of opposition to party politics and MPPs being expected to toe the party line on all major issues.
“We share the same core values, goals and principles,” Steele said. “The difference… is that every PC MPP votes the exact same as the PC party. The New Blue will probably not have that because every MPP is standing up for its specific riding.
“We share the same core values, but every issue that comes up still needs to be responded to by your riding before you go and vote in Queen's Park," she added.
Steele, who grew up in Barrie before attending college in Peterborough and then returning to the area, laments the freedoms taken away during this government’s reaction to the COVID-19 pandemic.
“We obviously saw the government take an unnecessary over-reach of control, and I understand at the very first outset of not understanding what this (pandemic) was,” she said. “But after months and months of waves, and going back and forth with the same plans that did not result in any change, that’s when the government started to kind of overstep, taking away freedoms that we have.
“After we saw lockdown two and three, it became a question to me of government control and stripping away what we should be able to even do on a day-to-day basis," Steele added.
Steele mentioned people being able to leave home, going to buy food, having their children attend school, going to their job, etc.
“We are all essential, every single person’s job,” Steele said.
She said one of the casualties of the government’s pandemic mandates is a right Ontarians take for granted.
“You’re not allowed freedom of speech anymore,” Steele said. “The second you disagree with the lockdown bills or anything, they try and shut you up. If you have any other opinion, besides what the narrative is, you’re completely shut off.”
She said attacks on the unvaccinated population have created a huge divide among Ontario residents.
“No one even has the opportunity to have discussions anymore because people just shut you down, instead of having open communication,” Steele said. “That is a very scary thing for politics. We need open discussion and people should be hearing what other people are seeing and experiencing throughout this whole time.”