Niagara Centre MPP calls cancellation of regional chair election a slap in the face

Another Niagara area politician is calling on the Ontario government to re-instate the regional chair election.

Premier Doug Ford announced plans to scrap regional chair elections in several regions including Niagara on Friday, just hours before the deadline to file paperwork to run for the position.

Yesterday, NDP MPP for Niagara Centre Jeff Burch called the decision a 'slap in the face to the people of Niagara.'

"Since the Premier has started cooking up backroom deals with his friends to meddle in municipal elections he has removed their democratic power. As the Minister should know, people in Niagara have serious concerns with their regional representatives. The Ombudsman and the Auditor General have both been involved in investigations of their activities and another complaint has been filed recently. Now more than ever, Niagara residents are looking to bring more democracy and accountability to our regional council. Will the Minister show some leadership, reverse his short-sighted decision, and allow the people of Niagara to elect their regional chair?"

Burch's question went unanswered as the PC's refused to answer questions from the Opposition after allegations that NDP House Leader Gilles Bisson mocked the accent of Tory legislator Kaleed Rasheed. Rasheed was born in Pakistan.

The allegations led to a shouting match between Premier Ford and Opposition Leader Andrea Horwath, prompting the Speaker of the House to call for a recess.

Bisson vehemently denies making any such comment, the Speaker says he did not hear anything untoward, and in viewing the audio CKTB was unable to ascertain if the alleged mocking took place.