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Five local MPP candidates are put on hot seat at local BBQ joint (6 photos)

Strive Young Professionals Group hosted an election info night at Low and Slow Thursday night

The Strive Young Professionals Group of Sault Ste. Marie hosted its ‘Strive Political Information Night’ Thursday night at Low and Slow, which saw five of the local riding’s MPP candidate take questions from attendees.

One of the main questions posed to all candidates at the SooToday-sponsored event was in regards to party leadership as a whole leading up to the provincial election.

“Obviously the party leader has a huge impact on how effective the party is and what they can achieve, and who they can work with,” said one attendee. “How is your party leader...going to benefit Sault Ste. Marie?”

PC Party incumbent Ross Romano seemingly refrained from speaking about his party’s polarizing leader.

“The party leader does not make the party, I want to be clear on that,” Romano said. “It’s a team approach.”

Romano instead opted to focus on the strengths of the players within his party.

“Look at who the team is on the other parties, give that some thought,” Romano said to the crowd. “Think about who will be your minister of health if the NDP is elected.”

“Who’s going to be your minister of finance?”

Northern Ontario Party candidate Sandy Holmberg stressed - albeit briefly - that party leader Trevor Holliday has a vested interest in Sault Ste. Marie, and that her party is firmly entrenched in the north.

NDP candidate Michele McCleave-Kennedy says that on top of her faith in party leader Andrea Horwath, her party also boasts candidates from all walks of life.

“There’s very many female candidates across the province,” said McCleave-Kennedy. “We’re one of the most diverse parties running.”

McCleave Kennedy also spoke of the candidates in northern Ontario, stating that all of them have been labour council presidents who have had experience dealing with industry.

Green Party candidate Kara Flannigan told the crowd that the leader of her party has been endorsed by the Toronto Star because of his honesty and transparency.

Flannigan then explained to the crowd of young professionals what the term ‘whipped’ meant in political speak.

“You are told by the party whip how to vote, so regardless of what you want in your community, and what your MPP has heard from you, if the party wants it this way, you are whipped,” Flannigan said. “You’re penalized or punished if you do not follow what they tell you to do.”

Liberal candidate Jaclynne Hamel says that she’s pumped about her roster of candidates and her Liberal Party leader, and that the Liberal Party has “one of the most progressive platforms in the country.”

“I’ve never been so excited to see a slate of candidates like I’ve seen in this provincial election,” Hamel said. “I’m so incredibly proud to not only be a part of that team, but under the leadership that we are.”

Strive Young Professionals Group of Sault Ste. Marie - created by the city’s chamber of commerce in 2012 - wants to ensure that young professionals in the city are ‘informated’ leading up to the June 7 provincial election, according to its Facebook event listing.