Doug Ford calls Essex MPP a 'coward' in response to questions about ousted MPP
Taras Natyshak asked the premier if he kicked out Randy Hillier as revenge
Essex MPP Taras Natyshak questioned the premier a second time in Queens Park Tuesday about former MPP Randy Hillier's departure from the PC caucus.
Hillier, who represented the eastern Ontario riding of Lanark-Frontenac-Kingston, was expelled last week, claimed he was kicked out "for raising concerns of possible illegal and unregistered lobbying by close friends and advisors employed by Premier Ford."
Natyshak asked whether or not that claim is true.
Doug Ford said he's innocent.
"The member from Essex, he walks around here like he's a big tough guy," said Ford. "Well why doesn't the big tough guy walk outside and make those accusations outside this door if he's so tough?"
His comments were met with a standing ovation from his party. Ford then followed with another comment about Natyshak.
"He walks around as a tough guy, but he's nothing but a coward."
The Speaker of the House held off the discussion to say that "personal insults are not helpful to the dialogue or the discussion."
Natyshak pressed Ford again, asking if Hillier's firing was "the latest of a string of revenge plots" like Brad Blair and the PC government's move to shrink Toronto city council.
Ford first called the allegations "absolutely ridiculous."
Then, Ford said it's "so ironic" that the NDP are holding a fundraiser where people can pay $800 to join a private reception involving leader Andrea Horwath.
"We believe in the $25 spaghetti dinners that we've been doing all across the province, we've had great turnout, speaking to communities, listening to their concerns," said Ford.
The exchange led to another standing ovation for Ford.
In February, opposition parties raised concerns about the PC fundraising gala where tickets cost $1,250, which Ford had defended.
An Open Letter to my Constituents and the People of Ontario. 2/3 <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/onpoli?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#onpoli</a> <a href="https://t.co/HmxiotaFWv">pic.twitter.com/HmxiotaFWv</a>—@randyhillier
Hillier had been suspended from the caucus since Feb. 20 for allegedly saying "yada, yada, yada" to a parent of a child with autism after a tense question period.
He claimed to his constituents that he was ousted for 10 reasons -- one of which is his refusal to give routine standing ovations in the House.