MPP Cam Jackson burned some bridges with his own party last week,
although he may have strengthened links with his riding.
former cabinet minister, forced to resign in October over expenses
claims, had a run-in with Transportation Minister Frank Klees on
Wednesday after speaking out in the Legislature against the party's
push to build the mid-peninsula highway through Burlington.
earlier, Jackson said Premier Ernie Eves' office dealt with him
in an arbitrary manner over the expense issue that forced him to
going on? This is a solid Tory, one of only 16 Conservatives to
emerge from the 1987 Liberal sweep, Burlington's MPP since 1985
who has enjoyed some of the largest margins of re-election anywhere
in the province. Jackson has held the jobs of minister responsible
for seniors, long-term care, tourism, and citizenship.
see a surprising betrayal of the government. Others see an MPP standing
up for a key local issue. Still others think the pending election
may be behind this week's moves.
ran afoul of the premier last fall and was forced to resign as tourism
minister after spending $103,722 in taxpayer dollars for expenses
that included high-end steak dinners, fancy hotels and in-room movies.
He was forced to repay some of those expenses.
succeeded Jackson in tourism before becoming transportation minister
Jackson told the House that he and the city of Burlington think
"the province is breaking environmental law" by moving forward with
its planned, limited assessment of the mid-peninsula highway.
Klees said he was taken off guard by Jackson's "posturing." He said
the Burlington MPP didn't give him a heads-up as a courtesy about
what he intended to do.
some ways, I feel betrayed on a personal level."
said he has already gone "quite a distance" to answer Jackson and
Burlington's concerns and at one point, went against his staff's
advice to accommodate Jackson's request for a public-comment deadline
doesn't understand Jackson's move, but said, "That type of gamesmanship
is not in the interest of a good working relationship ... It doesn't
Creek MPP and Labour Minister Brad Clark said, "I cannot explain
Mr. Jackson's comments. I think he's wrong."
was the transportation minister who announced the needs study for
the highway and says, "Mr. Jackson raised no concerns at that time."
Skarica is a former Conservative MPP who was demoted for his own
fights with the Mike Harris government.
said Jackson has nothing to lose if he comes out swinging. And a
firm stand against the unpopular highway will endear him with voters
at election time.
a pretty shrewd politician. He has a pretty good pulse of what residents
doesn't appear concerned about his fortunes.
doing my job," he says. "I'm putting the interests of my community
admitted there was some tension between him and former Premier Harris.
But he said the people of Burlington, not a premier, sent him to
insists he's speaking out against a government, not a political
Eckersley, of Citizens Opposed to Paving the Escarpment, couldn't
be happier with Jackson for taking a stand for the Niagara Escarpment
and for Burlington.
think it's great ... It can't be easy to stand up and get berated
by your own party."
said although Jackson was quiet on the mid-peninsula issue initially,
he has for some time now been supporting and working with COPE and
the city, and was instrumental in getting the ministry to extend
public comment deadlines.
columnist and Burlington resident Joan Little said, "It's the first
time I remember him standing up and questioning his own government.
Good for him ... I'm glad he's standing up for the city."
is sure the coming election is driving Jackson to come out so strongly,
but adds that if it benefits Burlington, nobody in Burlington will
care about his reasons.