June 24, 2019 12:32 pm
Updated: June 24, 2019 8:04 pm

Tim Houston boots MLA Alana Paon from N.S. PC caucus after driveway dispute

Nova Scotia Progressive Conservative Leader Tim Houston speaks to media at Nova Scotia Supreme Court on June 17, 2019.

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Nova Scotia PC Leader Tim Houston has removed MLA Alana Paon from his party’s caucus.

Houston announced the decision on Monday. The move comes after Paon, MLA for Cape Breton-Richmond, lost out on office rent after she failed to comply with a motion from the House of Assembly management commission to have the driveway to her constituency office in St. Peters, N.S., paved.

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The paving was necessary to bring her office in line with the province’s accessibility rules. When she failed to do so, she lost out on her ability to be reimbursed for her office rent.

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Houston says the spat over the accessibility of her constituency office was the “final straw” in a series of issues and concerns that he had attempted to resolve with Paon.

“Her unfounded and mean-spirited comments made publicly, while arguing against the requirement to have an office which meets the needs of people with disabilities, are completely unacceptable,” said Houston in a statement posted to the PC party’s website.

Houston told a media call on Monday that it was “particularly unfortunate that the Speaker and the House of Assembly management commission were subject to unfair accusations” by Paon, referring to her comments about feeling bullied by the decision about her driveway.

Alana Paon at a Nova Scotia PC caucus meeting in June 7, 2017.

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Houston said Paon had displayed a concerning “pattern of behaviour.”

He added that there were a number of issues raised about her attendance in her constituency, the management of the consituency office and the management of her apartment in Halifax.

“I’ve met with her on a number of occasions to discuss these issues but we weren’t seeing any progress, any respect for the position of being an MLA,” said Houston.

According to Paon’s expense claims, her office rent amounts to $1,499 a month while her apartment in Halifax totals $1,500.

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In an emailed response, Paon says she is “puzzled and in shock” by Houston’s decision.

“I filed paperwork with the Speaker’s Office in May 2018 reporting that my office complied with barrier-free workplace requirements,” she stated.

Paon says she’ll have more to say regarding her future plans in the coming days.

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