Constituents respond to MPP's removal from caucus
CAMBRIDGE -- Cambridge residents have mixed reactions after Member of Provincial Parliament Belinda Karahalios was kicked out caucus on Tuesday.
The Progressive Conservatives removed Karahalios from caucus after she voted against Bill 195. The bill was passed Tuesday and gives the government power to keep extending COVID-19 emergency orders without the need for legislative approval or debate.
Karahalios said she was "disappointed" with the party's decision.
"If we needed to do a second lockdown, that can happen but without the vote [from the legislature]," Karahalios told CTVNews Toronto. "That decision can get made without them (MPPs) having any say on it whatsoever."
Karahalios was elected in 2018.
Some Cambridge constituents were shocked by the move, while others said they agreed with the decision.
"I don't think it's a bad decision to kick her out, because I agree with what they're doing," resident Cindy Pero said. "They're extending it and I agree with that. I don't know if that was too harsh, what they did, how they went about it."
"Kicking her out of caucus for this, I think it's a little extreme," another resident, Lyne Stcyr said. "She's allowed to her own decision and her own thoughts, so I think it was a little too much."
Simon Kiss, an associate professor at Wilfrid Laurier University, said any government can take action against a member who votes against its legislation.
"There's been a long history of internal party fighting and friction between the party leadership and the Cambridge Conservatives. This is the latest episode of that," he said. "The downside to high levels of party discipline are individual MPPs might not get to speak their mind. The upside is you get a very clear program out of the government."
Karahalios served as parliamentary assistant to Solicitor General Sylvia Jones. Jones brought forward Bill 195.
"It wasn't just a Conservative MPP voting against Conservative legislation," Kiss said. "She was voting against her own minister she was supporting.
Some in her riding think the move was unfair.
"She should have a right to voice her opinion and not be punished for that," Cambridge resident Craig Wing said.
Other residents told CTV News Kitchener they were shocked by the decision.
Karahalios will now serve as an independent.
With files from CTVNewsToronto.ca