By Charlie Senack, Barrhaven Independent
Doug Ford said he wants to work with political parties to bring an end to donor-funded MPP allowances.
During a stop in Ottawa-West Nepean on Tuesday, the PC leader and current Ontario Premier said he was “frustrated” to hear Nepean MPP Lisa MacLeod received $44,000 from her riding association over three years.
MacLeod was one of seven Conservatives MPP’s to take the allowance, which was used for housing expenses among other things. While legal, the NDP called the move “unethical” and shared their findings at the beginning of the election cycle.
As a sitting cabinet minister MacLeod earns a paycheque of $165,000 per year. That’s on top of money provided for travel, meals, hospitality, and the $26,000 MPP’s receive for accommodation in Toronto.
“When I found out about anything like that, I was frustrated, to be frank with you, but it was all by the law, it was all audited, it went to Elections Ontario,” Ford said to reports on top of the Ottawa Citizen building.
“I think all three parties or four parties need to get together and have a chat about it after this election. I want to put an end to it,” he added.
A number of signs have popped up around Barrhaven reading: “$165k salary not enough for Lisa MacLeod,” and “MacLeod pocketed $44k extra from donors.” The signs were authorized by Nepean Liberal candidate Tyler Watt’s campaign.
The Barrhaven Independent has reached out to the MacLeod campaign many times for comment, but did not hear back.
Ford was in Ottawa to recommit his commitment to widen the highway between Highway 416 and Maitland Avenue. Other parties have attacked the idea, saying it brings a big price tag and little difference to commuters.
The Ontario PC candidate also committed to funding Phase 3 of Ottawa’s light rail transit system, which in a decade or so from now, would bring the trains out to Barrhaven and Kanata.
A public inquiry is currently underway to review Phase 1, which has been plagued with a variety of issues including: breakdowns, faulty doors, and derailments over its first four years. Ford called for the inquiry to ensure history doesn’t repeat itself with future phases.
“We want to make sure that any problems that happened in the past aren’t going to happen in Phase 3,” he said. “I can assure the people of Ottawa, we’re all in for Phase 3 as well, but I don’t want to see the same problems and the same concerns because it was disturbing what was happening in the other phases.”
This was Ford’s first and only stop in Ottawa during the campaign season. He’s been criticized for not coming here after the so-called Freedom Convoy took over downtown streets in February, and after a Derecho storm ripped through Nepean just weeks ago.
While in Ottawa Ford did not hold any campaign rallies, nor did he tour the storm damage. The PC leader did however briefly stop to meet with first responders.
Notably absent from Ford’s announcement was his team of PC MPP’s and cabinet ministers from the Ottawa region. Only Ottawa-West Nepean PC candidate Jeremy Roberts was in attendance, but did not take any questions from the media.
The Roberts campaign said he’s focused on door knocking and won’t be speaking to the media until after the election.