Ontario Premier Doug Ford says a legislator who was ousted from the Progressive Conservative caucus after voting against a government bill never expressed concern about the legislation prior to the vote.
Ford said he was with Belinda Karahalios, who represents the riding of Cambridge, last week.
“I was with her for two days. Not a word was mentioned to me which I find ironic,” Ford said.
“She’s a good person. Tough decision.”
Despite her ousting, Ford said he has a “phenomenal” relationship with Karahalios.
He said that it’s good for the caucus to have internal debates, but when it comes time to vote, he expects everyone to move forward as a team.
Karahalios voted against a controversial government bill that grants it powers to extend or amend some emergency orders a month at a time, for up to two years amid the coronavirus pandemic.
She called Bill 195 — which passed Tuesday — an “unnecessary overreach” on parliamentary democracy shortly after the vote.
“At its core, Bill 195 takes away the legislature’s ability to vote on the use of extraordinary emergency powers on Ontarians for the next year,” Karahalios said in a statement.
“By transferring away the ability for Ontario MPPs to consider, debate, and vote on how emergency powers are used on Ontarians, Bill 195 essentially silences every single Ontario MPP on the most important issue facing our legislature today.”
Ford challenged those claims, saying the only purpose of the legislation is “protecting the people.”
Ford said his government has been “fully transparent.”
When asked whether Karahalios may eventually be allowed back into the PC caucus, Government House Leader Paul Calandra said that would need to be considered by all PC legislators.
“That is something we would bring to the caucus and allow a vote from the full caucus on,” he said.
–With files from The Canadian Press