Nova Scotia

Landlord evicts Independent MLA Alana Paon from her Cape Breton office

Paon has been evicted from her St. Peters constituency office for failing to pay rent in recent months following a dispute over legislature rules for accessibility. The building's owner, Jeff Stanley, has told CBC News he changed the locks on Sunday.

Building owner Jeff Stanley says he has not been paid rent in recent months

Alana Paon in the public gallery at the House of Assembly Management Commission meeting before delivering her letter to Speaker Kevin Murphy. (Jean Laroche/CBC)

The Cape Breton-Richmond MLA who was kicked out of the PC caucus almost three months ago has now been locked out of her constituency office by her landlord.

Building owner Jeff Stanley told CBC News that Alana Paon could have her files and furniture back once she paid him the money he is owed.

Rent for constituency offices is usually paid by the Nova Scotia House of Assembly, but those payments have been withheld the last three months because of Paon's non-compliance with legislature rules for accessibility.

Stanley said he was "disappointed" and "pissed off" to be caught in the middle of the dispute, but he said he couldn't wait any longer for payment and on Sunday night, he changed the locks on the office doors.

On Thursday, Paon ⁠— now an Independent MLA ⁠— unexpectedly came to a meeting of the House of Assembly Management Commission, the body that oversees operations at Province House.

She sat quietly until the committee wrapped up its work and then hand-delivered a one-page note to Kevin Murphy, the Speaker of the House. She dropped the note on the table, without a word, and walked away.

Neither Paon nor Murphy disclosed what was in the note.

An accessible parking spot is located next to the ramp leading to MLA Alana Paon's constituency office. She had been ordered by the commission to have part of the gravel lot paved in order to comply with accessibility rules. (Submitted)

In a minute-long exchange with reporters, Paon said paying the rent was not her responsibility.

"At this point the rent's not getting paid on the property and it's the province of Nova Scotia that's the leasee," she said. "Who's liable at the end of the day for paying the lease — I didn't sign off on that lease, they did."

Paon walked away from reporters when asked if she was still using the office she had at 4 MacAskill Dr. in St. Peters.

Murphy said he wasn't pleased with the way Paon was dealing with him and his staff.

"I was always taught that communication is a two-way street," he said. "When you're asked a question you give an answer and in my mind there are legitimate questions that are being asked of this particular MLA and we've not gotten any answers.

"So it's frustrating."

Murphy said the landlord had not yet informed him that he was owed money, nor was he aware of the eviction until CBC News informed him.

"It'll be up to the House of Assembly Management Commission to determine what the next steps are," said Murphy when asked what will happen next.

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