By Charlie Senack
Nepean MPP Lisa MacLeod is making it known that she’s back to business as the Ontario legislature ramps up for another season.
MacLeod, who took a step back from her duties to deal with mental health struggles, held a community corn boil at Mādahòkì Farm located off West Hunt Club Road on Sept. 16. It was attended by Ottawa’s top doctor, Dr. Vera Etches, alongside 400 people.
“When I was minister of tourism, I was so proud to say that Ontario — and in fact Canada — is the world in one province, and the world in one country,” MacLeod said during her roughly seven-minute speech. “Today here we are with the Indigenous peoples of the Algonquin tribe saying thank you to them for allowing us to be on their land to support our great community and national capital.”
Mādahòkì Farm has “the mission of sharing the land, stories and food from an Indigenous perspective,” according to their website. In Oct. 2021, they signed a 25-year lease with the National Capital Commission to farm on the 164-acre property, formally known as the Lone Star Ranch, located in Ottawa’s Greenbelt.
The event featured bison burgers, bannock, hamburger and cotton candy. Kids were able to pet animals and get their faces painted.
MacLeod, who wore a traditional Scottish Dress to celebrate the 250th anniversary of her family immigrating to Canada, said it was an opportunity to thank her community for 18 years of support over six elections.
“You have been truly remarkable friends, supporters, and constituents, and it’s been really wonderful,” she said. “I know there have been many ups and downs and I’m not going to repeat them because we have seen them all play out on the news, on tv and in the papers. I want to thank all of you who have asked how I’m feeling and I’m feeling great.”
MacLeod paid tribute to Ottawa’s medical system and thanked the various healthcare providers who have been there to treat her and others over the last few years. She slowly returned to public life last fall and has picked up a full-time schedule this summer. From September to November, she will host a series of “lunch and learn” events.
“I will not let you down when it comes to defending your interests at Queens Park,” she said. “As we go there in the next couple of weeks my voice will be as ever strong as it’s ever been for the people of Nepean and more broadly for the people of the City of Ottawa.”
MacLeod served in a series of ministerial positions since the Doug Ford-led Progressive Conservative government took office in 2018. She was left out of cabinet as she took time off to address her health challenges, but Ottawa South Liberal MPP John Fraser has called on Ford to have her return. He said while the two have varying opinions on many topics, MacLeod is a fighter for the residents of Ottawa. The city has been without a minister since Merilee Fullerton resigned in March.