Ontario MPP’s continued their five-month summer break Monday as provincial legislation hangs in the balance.
Politicians were supposed to return to Queen’s Park today, but instead the legislature sat empty as the Progressive Conservative government waits out the results of next month’s federal election.
“The Ford government thought it was more important to stay home and help [Andrew] Scheer through the federal election than to be here dealing with the issues of real Ontarians,” NDP MPP Monique Taylor said.
“There are so many issues that need to be raised. We should be in there asking questions about education, about cuts to services.”
Premier Doug Ford has become a frequent target of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s Liberals in recent months, with the party looking to link him to Federal Conservative leader Andrew Scheer.
But the government says that time away ahead of the October 21st election does not mean time off. The Premier is still taking meetings, visiting communities and holding press conferences, while ministers implement the government’s agenda.
“There’s no doubt that we don’t want to interfere with the federal election. People are going to be very, very focused on it,” Government House Leader Paul Calandra said. “It’s absolutely vital. It absolutely is, and that’s why we sat more than any government in the history of this place in the last 30 years.”
Ford’s polling numbers are low and his government’s policies have been a constant source of controversy, but political observers say putting the legislature on hold may be a risky move.
“I don’t see what Doug Ford gains from inserting himself into the federal election,” Conservative Strategist Jamie Ellerton said. “He’s got a lot of work ahead of him, after their rocky spring and cabinet reset in June.”
And that work can only get started once the legislature doors open again, where a flurry of new legislation is expected to make up for lost time.
The provincial legislature has been closed since early June and MPPs are expected to return there on Oct. 28.