Candidates in the federal election have been unable to hold traditional campaign events due to COVID-19, but on Friday the local NDP supporters brought out a veritable who’s who of current and former elected officials for the party who served Sault Ste. Marie and area.
Marie Morin-Strom, NDP candidate for Sault Ste. Marie, held an outdoor rally on Friday evening at Clergue Park with about 35 people in attendance.
Among those in attendance to support Morin-Strom were current and former Algoma—Manitoulin MPPs Mike Mantha and Bud Wildman, as well as former Sault MP Tony Martin.
Morin-Strom is herself daughter of Karl Morin-Strom, former NDP MPP for Sault Ste. Marie.
During her remarks, Morin-Strom thanked Wildman and Martin for coming out to support her campaign.
“Those names in my home where I grew up with my dad — those are some legendary names and the fact that you guys are out here to support me fills me with all of the feels,” she said.
Speaking to SooToday after the event, Morin-Strom said she has not been campaigning as the daughter of a former NDP MPP, but admitted it comes up organically.
“People still ask, which I find interesting because Morin-Strom is kind of a unique name, but I suppose they are being polite by asking,” she said. “I am not my father, we are very different people but we of course hold many of the same values, so the NDP is the perfect place for me.”
Morin-Strom said she was about six years old when her father was first elected in 1985.
“I grew up waving in parades and having the media come into the home and do commercials and talk to my dad and stopping my dad on the streets — it used to drive me nuts,” said Morin-Strom.
The family relocated to North Bay after Karl Morin-Strom decided to not run in the 1990 provincial election to protest the city’s decision at the time to be an English-only municipality. He then worked for the Ontario Northland Railway and later at Nipissing University.
“His passion was science and math and he definitely transferred that to me, I am a high school teacher who teaches science and math,” said Morin-Strom.
Sault Ste. Marie has working class roots, said Morin-Strom, and she told SooToday it’s only a matter of time before the riding turns orange once again.
“I think maybe we have drifted away from some of our working class roots and I think we can drift right back to being that place where we support our social services, we support our workers and where we make things better for everybody,” she said.
Martin is the last NDP MP to represent the Sault in Ottawa and, before that, served as the MPP who succeeded Karl Morin-Strom at Queen’s Park.
Martin attended Friday’s rally with the help of a cane and his wife Anna on his other arm, due to a stroke he suffered in 2014.
Anna said even though his mobility and speech are not what they once were, it would have been difficult to keep her husband from attending the rally.
“He was always so much involved in other campaigns,” said Anna of her husband’s support of the party. “He certainly would be out there knocking on doors for Marie and doing what he could, but it is what it is.”