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HomeNewsConstituents and media locked out of local MPP's office

Constituents and media locked out of local MPP’s office

KAWARTHA LAKES-Constituents and the media have been locked out of MPP Laurie Scott’s office in Lindsay.

A handful of protestors showed up today for the second day in a row looking for an apology from the Ontario government after the premature cancellation of the Basic Income Pilot Project. Monday marked the final payment for the 4000 low income residents involved in the pilot that was to last three years.

The pilot program provided a basic income of up to $17,000 (for single people) with the goal of helping them take steps to get ahead out of poverty and was abruptly cut last year.  A legal action was filed last fall seeking the court’s reversal of the cancellation on the grounds it was “irrational, unethical and made in bad faith”. The court ruled it lacked jurisdiction to overturn a government policy decision.

 

A large group staged a respectful sit-in at Scott’s office on Monday. They remained after closing time and staff called police, who escorted residents out of the Constituency Office.

A small but determined group returned today but found the door of the MPP’s Constituency Office locked with a sign telling residents to call for assistance.

As a journalist I arrived to get some video of the small group that remained at the protest for a second day and interview some of them. I also found the door to the constituency office locked. I then called the number on the sign, explained I was a journalist with questions and asked to be let in. I was told to wait but no one ever arrived to let me in.

The Constituency Office is where residents go if they need help or are looking for answers from their local government representative. MPP’s receive tax dollars to keep these offices open to the public.

Anyone arriving from out of town who did not have a cell phone wouldn’t even be able to call for access to their local MPP.

This is what Scott says on her website, “I am proud to represent Haliburton-Kawartha Lakes-Brock and to call it home. If you live in the riding and have any ideas about how we can make our community a better place, please contact me any time!”

Here’s an idea, unlock your door to your constituents and the media.

UPDATE:After we posted this story Scott issued the following statement:

I welcome any and all inquiries and comments to my constituency office, either in person, over the phone or via email.

As a result of recent activity at my local MPP office, we are currently operating with procedures designed to protect the privacy of all constituents. All residents of Haliburton-Kawartha Lakes-Brock are entitled to services from their MPP’s office, with full expectations and assurances that their privacy will be protected. This includes confidential conversations, being photographed or video recorded, or being interrupted when they attempt to access the services provided by my community office staff.

Regrettably, with such a small office space, it became clear that maintaining confidentiality for visitors was impossible during a peaceful sit-in. As such, we are inviting demonstrators to remain outside our office while engaging in their right to free speech. This will allow us to continue to serve our constituents to the best of our ability.

 

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Pamela Vanmeer
Pamela Vanmeerhttps://www.kawartha411.ca/
Pamela VanMeer is a two time winner of the prestigious Radio Television Digital News Association (RTDNA) Award. Her investigative reports on abuse in Long Term Care Homes garnered international attention for the issue and won the Ron Laidlaw Award. She is a former reporter and anchor at CHEX News, now Global Peterborough and helped launch the New CHEX Daily, a daily half hour talk show. While at CHCH News in Hamilton she covered some of the biggest news stories of the day.

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