Minister MacLeod And The Subsidized $44k Top-Up

PC Minister Lisa MacLeod got a payout of $44,000 over three years from her publically subsidized riding association, on top of her minister salary and housing allowance.

Good morning!

This weekend my wife and I went to a spot we found thanks to Ralf, the Lookout’s food and drink editor, for our tenth anniversary. He mentioned Sans Façon in an earlier issue of the Insider, and folks, let me tell you, it was every bit as good as he hinted at. Really can’t recommend enheading to Gatineau to try it out — and signing up to the Insider to get tips like this yourself.

We’re very excited to announce the launch of our referral program! Every person you refer to our newsletter wins you prizes. Here are the first three prizes:

  • A curated list of where to find the best Italian sandwiches in town

  • A birthday shout-out in the newsletter

  • A guide to seven different Japanese and Korean restaurants, including dishes to order

And anyone who refers at least one person by midnight tonight will be entered to win two gift cards to Pizza All’Antica!

With that, let’s get to the newsletter.

— Robert Hiltz, managing editor

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Wednesday: 27 🌡️ 8 | ☀️

Thursday: 30 🌡️ 15 | ☀️

Friday: 31 🌡️ 15 | ☀️

Nepean MPP Received Thousands In Subsidized “Allowance”

All four party leaders at the northern Ontario debate.

All four party leaders at the northern Ontario debate. CPAC/Cogeco/Screenshot

MacLeod getting subsidized top-up: Local MPP and minister Lisa MacLeod has received more than $44,000 in subsidized top-ups to her salary in recent years. McLeod received the funds from her Nepean PC riding association between 2018 and 2020 as an “MPP Allowance,” according to Elections Ontario filings.

  • The expenses were found by the Ontario NDP. They found another PC minister taking top-up funds, Mississauga MPP and Associate Minister for Digital Government Kaleed Rasheed.

MacLeod’s annual salary is $165,850, plus a $26,000 housing allowance to live in Toronto. Over the period she was getting the allowance, her riding association received nearly $33,000 in public subsidies.

Even more subsidized: Political donations are also subsidized. Someone donating the provincial maximum to the riding association of $3,315 would receive a tax credit for $1,457, which is 44 percent. The amount subsidized by credits could be even higher. The percentage refunded through tax credits is higher with lower donations, on a sliding scale depending on the amount.

When CBC went looking to find MacLeod for comment, workers at the MPP’s office said they “have no idea” where she was, according to Joanne Chianello.

Other provincial election news

Education minister participated in “slave auction”: PC Education Minister Stephen Lecce participated in a slave auction when he was president of his fraternity at Western University, according to PressProgress. In 2006 Lecce was auctioned off as a “slave” in a “brother auction.” Sigma Chi, the frat, has since explicitly outlawed such activities. [PressProgress]

Leaders face-off: All four major party leaders faced off in a debate focused on northern Ontario issues. Three of the leaders — the NDP Leader Andrea Horwath, Liberal Leader Steven Del Duca, and Green Leader Mike Schreiner — all said they were open to giving municipalities more taxation powers, similar to those of Toronto’s. The province’s biggest city is the only one which can raise revenue through means other than property taxes. PC Leader Doug Ford said he was against raising taxes. You can rewatch the whole thing here at CPAC (maybe not worth your time).

Elementary teachers’ union endorsements: Four New Democrats and a Liberal in Ottawa have been endorsed by the Ottawa-Carleton branch of the Elementary Teachers’ Federation of Ontario. From the NDP they endorsed Joel Harden in Ottawa Centre, Lyra Evans in Ottawa-Vanier, and Kevin St. Denis in Carleton, and Liberal Tyler Watt in Nepean.

PCs promise disability boost: Ford promised to raise the Ontario Disability Support Payment by five percent. The party would also legislate yearly increases to the program. The rates have been frozen since 2018 at a maximum of $1,169, after the PC government cut a planned boost in half to 1.5 percent from three percent soon after they came into office. [CBC]

EQAO overhaul: Both the NDP and the Liberals have promised to overhaul standardized testing in the province. The NDP said they would use random sampling to spot early trends, and the Liberals would work with parents and teachers to develop a new strategy for the tests. [The Canadian Press]

Ottawa By The Numbers

  • $1,391: The average rent per suite at the Ottawa REIT InterRent’s properties in March, an 8.9 percent increase over the same period last year. [OBJ]

  • 7,000: The Ottawa Mission’s two food trucks are able to hand out this many meals every week to those in need. [Ottawa Citizen]

Reconsidering Summer Plans Over Gas Prices

Changing patterns: The Poplar Grove Campground in Greely is seeing people booking longer stays, rather than weekend visitors. Many people seem to be locals, the campground’s owner told CTV.

  • “Nowadays it’s come park for a week, park for two weeks, a month, visit all the area as opposed to moving the trailer and going. … It’s about the gas and about how much money you have to spend to go and then that takes away from what you want to do,” owner Diane McEvoy said to the broadcaster.

A local delivery business has had to add a fuel surcharge to each of its deliveries. And many drivers are looking to keep their vehicles parked as much as possible, rather than incur more costs.

Higher prices coming: Prices haven’t yet hit their peak. They could go up another 10 cents per litre over the next two weeks. The peak could come by the end of June one analyst said to CTV, but it might last until August.

Not everyone is hurting: While gas prices might be hurting consumers, producers are doing just fine. Western Canadian oil company Suncor saw profits triple in the first quarter, Reuters reported. The company saw profits jump to $2.95 billion, up from $821 million in the first quarter last year. Record-high gas prices pushed up their earnings, even as they saw production dip slightly from the same period last year. This allowed the company to offer its highest-ever dividend to shareholders, 47 cents per share, 12 percent higher than last quarter’s dividend.

15 Instagrammable Brunch Spots That Will Leave You Breathless And Hungry And Smiling

Have you ever seen a story headline like this? At the Lookout, we believe it's what’s wrong with the food media industry.

Too many outlets are more concerned with clickbait articles to generate page views, instead of doing the hard work of visiting and eating at restaurants they recommend.

The result? People end up believing Ottawa isn’t a place to find great food.

Lookout is different. Our food editor visits each restaurant, and talks to the chefs and owners, providing you recommendations on what exactly to order in our weekly Insider newsletter.

Get the Insider newsletter and access food reviews from someone who’s actually visited each restaurant. The next edition comes out tomorrow!

You’ll get access to our entire archive of Ottawa restaurant reviews, a curated map of the restaurants to visit and discounts on future Insider events.

Coun. Mathieu Fleury Leaving Council

Fleury’s out: Rideau-Vanier Coun. Mathieu Fleury, who has been at city hall since 2010, announced he wouldn’t be seeking reelection. Previously, there had been some speculation he would run for mayor, something Fleury had said he would consider. But he said yesterday he wouldn’t be doing that either.

  • “This was not an easy decision to make, but it’s the best one for me and my family right now. Representing the residents of Rideau-Vanier over the last 12 years has been the privilege of a lifetime. I am proud of what our community has accomplished and look forward to seeing it grow,” Fleury tweeted.

Stories You Might Have Missed

Carpenters on strike: Ontario carpenters went on strike this week. The Carpenters’ District Council of Ontario said most of their contract talks went just fine, but the workers are demanding higher pay to keep up with the higher cost of living. More than 2,000 workers in Ottawa put their tools down. Crane operators across the province are also on strike. The new central library Ādisōke announced it would have to pause construction because of the strike. [Ottawa Citizen]

Police officer pleads guilty: An Ottawa Police Constable pleaded guilty at a disciplinary hearing to unlawful or unnecessary exercise of authority. Const. Samson Vo punched and kneed a man multiple times in a May 2021 arrest. The defence and prosecution submitted a joint request to have Vo penalized seven days’ pay. A final decision will be made at a hearing in June. [Ottawa Citizen]

Rare white deer in Manotick: A fallow deer, native to Europe, has been spending time in Manotick since at least late last year. It’s likely escaped from a deer farm somewhere in the province. The white stag took up residence at a local farm when it began to look weak over the winter, and the farmer left out special fortified feed. It eventually forced its way into an unused shed to sleep. [CBC]

Ticks posing higher risk: This year, be careful of ticks. Public Health Ontario has published a map showing much of the Ottawa area to be in the risk area for tick-borne Lyme disease. Blacklegged ticks are carriers of the disease. Be sure to check your pets for ticks after being outside, and wear long pants and sleeves to protect yourself. The insects are most active in spring and summer. [CityNews]

Community Highlights

  • Until Friday, the Alexandra Bridge will be closed 9:30 am and 3 pm every day.

  • Take a trip back in time to early Ottawa and the founding of Union Brewery in 1865. [Apt613]

  • Is this your cat? A Reddit user found it near Hearst Way, and has since taken it to the vet to hopefully reunite it with its owners using the cat’s microchip.

  • Three Senators, Drake Batherson, Thomas Chabot, and Nick Holden are off to Finland to play in the world hockey championship with Team Canada. [CBC]

  • Speaking of the Sens, Pierre McGuire has been fired as senior vice-president of player development by the team. [CityNews]

  • Princess Margriet of the Netherlands is coming to town this week in a delayed celebration of the 75th anniversary of the liberation of the Netherlands. [CBC]

  • Raise a glass to Dunrobin Distilleries, who are building a new location in Stittsville that should be open by Christmas. [CTV]

Today's Top Photo

The Ottawa River, looking toward the Alexandra Bridge

Nicholas Lambert/Ottawa Lookout Reader

Today’s photo comes courtesy of reader Nicholas Lambert. It’s one representing “the mad swirl of the upcoming elections,” he says.

Send us your photos from around town! We’re always looking to run views of Ottawa from our readers!

Daily COVID Stats

All infection and vaccination data via Ottawa Public Health. You can find the status of the wastewater tracking here. And you can find vaccination stats here.

  • Active Cases: 993 (+21)

  • Deaths: 789 (+4)

  • Ottawans In Hospital: 26

  • Ottawans In ICU: 2

  • Acute Beds Occupied: 92%

  • ICU Beds Occupied: 71%

  • ICU Ventilator Beds Occupied: 26%

Weekly Question

Last week we asked readers whether they supported the massive Lansdowne development moving forward, or waiting until voters had their say. Over 90 percent of you said city council should wait.

This week’s question is more lighthearted. What are you most looking forward to about summer in the city? Your ideas could be included in future stories! Take the survey and let us know.

Previous Lookout Editions

  • Gas prices hit record levels - read more

  • Is the housing market cooling off? Just maybe - read more

  • The city should slow down before approving Lansdowne 2.0 - read more

  • The motorcycle protest comes to town - read more

  • Where to find Ottawa’s best Pho - read more