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Peterborough-Kawartha MP Michelle Ferreri criticized for calling herself ‘single mom with 6 children’

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WATCH: Peterborough-Kawartha MP Michelle Ferreri is facing some criticism online after a comment she made in the House of Commons. On Tuesday, Ferreri stated that she is a single mother of six children, but her biography on her government website says otherwise. Jessica Nyznik reports – Mar 24, 2022

Peterborough-Kawartha Conservative MP Michelle Ferreri is facing criticism for calling herself a “single mom with six children” during a debate in the House of Commons in Ottawa on Tuesday.

“I thank the honourable member for his question,” Ferreri said in response to a comment from Kingston and Islands Liberal MP Mark Gerretsen. “It’s unfortunate you don’t know my situation as a single mom with six children, but, appreciate it.”

Ferreri’s claim came during a debate about a Conservative motion for a temporary five per cent tax reduction on fuel. She also provided single first names of individuals in her riding she claimed were struggling.

However, Gerretsen disagreed with the motion, arguing it would mean every Canadian would get the same rebate — something he didn’t feel was necessary given his salary as an MP.

Read more: Immigrants, single parents and low-income earners get dinged most by tax system, study finds

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“I am very fortunate that I can afford the extra amount,” said Gerretsen, parliamentary secretary to the leader of the government. “Given the fact that I have a good job, I am able to do that. I imagine that this member is in the same position as me.”

He recommended any funds collected to be “invested in those, like those she mentioned, who are struggling the most.”

“Isn’t that what social programs are all about, which is the redistribution of wealth as opposed to giving breaks to individuals who might not necessarily need it?” he said. “Like myself or, as I would suggest, her?”

According to the Parliament Canada Act, an MP earns a base salary of $185,800.

But Ferreri’s response to him has sparked criticism and questions on social media over the past two days.

“I thank the honourable member for his question,” Ferreri responded. “It’s unfortunate you don’t know my situation as a single mom with six children, but, appreciate it.”

The MP’s website describes Ferreri as a “proud mother of three children, between the ages of 12 and 17, and shares her life with her supportive partner, Ryan, and his three daughters.”

On Thursday, Ferreri declined an interview request with Global News Peterborough about her comment, citing “privacy issues.”

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A statement from her constituency office said the MP is “not interested in doing an interview on this.”

“While our office is always happy to comment on articles, this is unfortunately not one we are open to discussing. This is a private matter. Yes, she is a single mom of three kids, and shares custody with her partner’s three kids.”

Gerretsen also declined an interview on the incident.

Misleading?

Could Ferreri’s comment have consequences? David Sheinin, a Trent University professor of history and a political commentator, believes it may.

“Lying is misleading the House and if she is found to have been lying by the speaker, that’s a very serious offence,” he told Global News Peterborough. “MPs are not supposed to lie in the House, to put it mildly.”

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Sheinin said Ferreri could face discipline from her party leader or the speaker.

As for her credibility?

“I would like to say that if an MP lies, it should impact their credibility,” he said.

A request for comment from interim Conservative Party Leader Candice Bergen was not returned.

Ferreri was elected MP in the 2021 federal election, defeating Liberal incumbent Maryam Monsef who in November 2020 was caught on an open mic inquiring about her MP salary during a debate on an NDP tax motion.

— with files from Jessica Nyznik/Global News Peterborough

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