Kicked out of Ford's PCs: Belinda Karahalios ejected for voting against COVID-19 emergency powers

Meet Belinda Karahalios. She is the MPP for Cambridge, Ont, and she was part of the Doug Ford Progressive Conservative government.

Now she sits as an independent after being booted from caucus on Tuesday.

Karahalios' sin? She had the temerity to vote against a controversial government bill that many feel is overreaching and undemocratic, and not the sort of legislation one would expect to see enacted by conservatives. 

Indeed, Bill 195 grants the provincial government powers to extend or amend some emergency orders a month at a time — for up to two years without debate!

Say, didn’t the Justin Trudeau Liberals try to pull this stunt back in March? Indeed they did, and they were only thwarted in passing a federal version of Bill 195 when the opposition reacted with outrage.

Likewise, Karahalios has called the Ontario bill an unnecessary overreach on parliamentary democracy. 

In a statement, Karahalios says:

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.

For his part, Premier Ford says he was “blindsided” by Karahalios when she voted against Bill 195. And for that, she was kicked out of caucus, much like Amanda Simard, Jim Wilson, and Randy Hillier.

Recently, we were able to conduct an extended interview with Belinda Karahalios to get her thoughts on why she voted against the bill; whether her punishment was justified; and to get her to weigh-in on the way Doug Ford has changed — and not necessarily for the better — since being sworn in as Premier two years ago.