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Karahalios kicked out of PC caucus after voting against own party's legislation at Queen's Park

MPP Belinda Karahalios voted against Bill 195, calling it an overreach on democracy
belinda karahalios
Belinda Karahalios in the Legislature / YouTube

In a rare move, a Progressive Conservative MPP voted against their party's own bill, which ended in swift consequences.

Cambridge MPP Belinda Karahalios has been kicked from the Ontario PC caucus after voting against the Ontario PC government's Bill 195 on third reading Tuesday.

The premier’s office confirmed the news in a statement, saying she would no longer be a sitting member of the PC caucus.

“Our government’s first priority is the health and safety of all Ontarians, and Bill 195 is an important piece of legislation that protects each and every citizen during the pandemic,” read the statement.

Karahalios was the only Tory to break ranks on the vote.

That bill would see some emergency powers extended without being brought to Queen's Park for debate.

Many critics lambasted the bill, including public sector workers who argued that it would remove their ability to bargain entirely.

Karahalios joined those critics, calling it an "unnecessary overreach on our parliamentary democracy."

“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," said Karahalios in a release. "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.”

In that same release, Karahalios cited concerns from Litigation Director of the Canadian Constitution Foundation Christine Van Geyn, President of the Justice Centre for Constitutional Freedoms John Carpay, and The Ontario Nurses’ Association.

“Two years ago, I was elected to be the voice of the people of the riding of Cambridge," she said. "When the voters elected me, they gave me a job to do.  That's the job I've been doing for two years and that I'll continue to do as long as I'm an MPP.  All Ontario MPPs have been responsive to return to the legislature whenever urgent legislation is required, including but not limited to dealing with the current pandemic.  No one has been able to provide a good reason why we can’t continue with regards to the use of emergency powers for the rest of our mandate."

With files from 680 NEWS and The Canadian Press

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