It is the fundamental and over-arching first principle of all elected representatives to support their constituents to the best of their ability each and every day. If that is not the first thought of every single elected member each morning then they ought to reflect upon why they serve.
I feel deeply for my supporters and constituents who, like me, shared a belief that the PC Party was deserving of an electoral mandate and voted accordingly. We each believed the PC Party would represent a positive change that would benefit everyone in Ontario.
For twelve years, and through four elections, my constituents have stood with me to demand fair, just, and honest government. It is disheartening to learn that the promised electoral change has not been realized. When I was first elected in 2007, I pledged that I would be their voice and represent the views of the riding in Queens Park, and not just the Party or Premier’s voice in the riding.
I will never break that pledge, regardless of the penalties or punishment.
The last few weeks have not weakened, but instead, have reinforced my convictions with the incredible outpouring of support demonstrating our shared belief in freedom, justice, and democracy.
The PC Caucus was blessed with the election of many new and fresh faces in the June General Election. However, it has become clear that the backroom operatives took advantage of many of the newly elected members who, not being as well informed of parliamentary practices, rights privileges, or conventions, were taken advantage of by Dean French and Chris Froggatt.
Like many people, I had high hopes and expectations with the election of a PC government after 15 years of Liberal mismanagement, scandals, and harmful policies. I could not stand by and tolerate operatives engaging in similar and more egregious acts.
My very first private meeting with Dean French after the June election was at a BBQ at the Ford residence on August 2. During our conversation Dean informed me that he “wanted me out of caucus”. For the following seven months Dean French and Chris Froggatt engaged in an underhanded and relentless campaign to achieve that end.
I have been condemned and expelled from caucus, according to these backroom operatives, for the following reasons:
- My refusal to breach oath of office;
- My refusal to accept the obstruction and prevention of caucus criticism or input on public policy;
- Demanding Members be permitted to engage in debate and committee examinations;
- My refusal to obtain permission to speak with the media;
- My priority to place a higher duty to converse, discuss and meet my constituents, rather than attending the party convention.
- My refusal not to stand and applaud for the routine, (only outstanding performance ought to be recognized as such, or applauding has no meaning);
- For advancing improvements for the committee I chaired to hear regulatory concerns from Industry, constituents, and stakeholders to implement the government’s commitment to reduce redtape, I was accused of conducting a “power play against the Premier” ;
- My refusal to do a video supporting the government’s use of the notwithstanding clause;
- For raising concerns of possible illegal and unregistered lobbying by close friends and advisors employed by Premier Ford;
- My involvement in the creation of a bi-partisan Parliamentary Reform Committee to discuss improvements of legislative practices.
Furthermore, I was also condemned for not seeking “permission” to attend my brother’s funeral. This, to me, is the most egregious act. It undermines me as a person and thereby undermines all Ontarians by putting party politics above compassion and respect.
These outrageous demands and distortions/corruption of my responsibilities culminated with the following condition of reinstatement to the PC caucus. Even when the government is in violation of the law or engaged in unlawful activity, I must accept these decisions as a team member and neither dissent in caucus nor speak publicly of these illegal/unlawful actions.
I want to assure all of my constituents, regardless of political affiliation, that my removal from the PC Party Caucus will neither prevent nor impede my ability to represent each one of you to the best of my ability. I have never put the party line ahead of my constituents, and my removal from caucus will permit me greater freedom to speak publicly on government policy.
Having conviction is more important than playing politics, that representation of my constituents is more important than being buddies with backroom operatives whose only mission is unrestrained power and control that always leads to corruption. I am now your conservative, independent, Member for Lanark, Frontenac, Kingston, and I continue to be proud to represent you.