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INSIDE THE VILLAGE: From sex worker to lawyer to political candidate

Rejected as the Liberal nominee in the riding of Sault Ste. Marie, Indigenous advocate Naomi Sayers is campaigning for Queen’s Park as an independent

Welcome back to Inside the Village, where all news is local—and no topic is off-limits.

In the latest episode of the podcast, we take a closer look at a Village Media exclusive from northern Ontario that triggered plenty more headlines across the province: the Naomi Sayers saga.

For those who may not recognize her name, Sayers is a prominent Anishinaabe lawyer from Garden River First Nation who has never tried to hide the fact that she worked as an escort and exotic dancer before pursuing a career in the courtroom. Called to the bar in both Alberta and Ontario, she is a respected litigator and human rights advocate who, in her words, tries to use “my personal story to create and influence change.”

A longtime Liberal, Sayers recently applied to be the party’s Sault Ste. Marie candidate in the upcoming provincial election—only to be turned down, purportedly because the Liberals didn’t have enough time to vet her voluminous social media posts. As Village Media’s David Helwig first reported, the Liberals then turned around and acclaimed an 18-year-old high school student who doesn’t even live in the riding. (Ousted a day later, his candidacy was ultimately short-lived.)

Now running as independent, Sayers joins Inside the Village to tell her side of the nomination debacle. She also discusses her past, how it shaped her future, and why voters should consider checking her name at the ballot box on June 2.

Also on this week’s episode: The war against microfibres.

Scientists are uncovering more and more evidence that microfibres (mostly microplastics) are all around us, including on our dinner plates and in our drinking water. A team of researchers in small-town Ontario has identified a major culprit: washing machines.

The fascinating full story—written by Erika Engel, the Editor of—is the latest instalment of Village Media’s The Big Read. Joining Engel on the show are Ashley Morrison and Bronwyn Kirby from the charity Georgian Bay Forever.

Launched earlier this month, Inside the Village provides a weekly window into some the best local journalism, big and small, from across our chain of Ontario newsrooms. If you prefer the audio version, it’s available wherever you find your favourite podcasts.

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