I won’t cross the floor, says Haldimand-Norfolk’s independent MPP

·2 min read

Ontario’s lone independent MPP is staying a political free agent — for now.

In an interview prior to her debut at Queen’s Park this week, Haldimand-Norfolk MPP Bobbi Ann Brady told The Spectator she has no plans to join a party any time soon.

“People have said, ‘Oh, you’re going to cross the floor right away.’ No, I won’t,” said Brady, who spent 23 years working for former Progressive Conservative MPP Toby Barrett before winning the riding in an upset over the PC candidate, Haldimand Mayor Ken Hewitt.

“I’ve heard from many MPPs, from the Liberals, the NDP and the Conservatives,” Brady said.

“I’ve heard from many of my friends in Conservative circles who have offered their support and encouragement and have made it very clear they’re willing to work with me.”

Brady ruled out joining the Liberals or NDP and sharing her insider knowledge of the Progressive Conservative party with the opposition.

“That’s not going to happen. I am a conservative, and I have conservative principles and values,” she said.

“But there is no monopoly on a good idea. We have to work together.”

She would only return to the PC fold if her constituents gave her the green light and the party “cleans house” by “getting rid of that culture of disrespect that some people think is OK,” Brady said.

The retiring Barrett tabbed Brady as his successor but the premier’s office had other ideas, bypassing the usual nomination process to appoint Hewitt.

That snub prompted some Barrett backers to switched their allegiance from the party to Brady, who also earned votes from left-leaning voters impressed by her track record of community service as Barrett’s top aide.

Brady called her first few weeks as MPP “a bit of a whirlwind.”

“It seems like a continuation of what I was doing, but instead of sending Toby out on the town, it’s Bobbi Ann going out on the town,” she said. “And I’m loving it.”

Brady plans to use her first speech in the legislature to thank the “courageous” voters who made her Ontario’s first independent MPP in decades and give Barrett the “proper tribute” he did not receive from his former party.

J.P. Antonacci, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Hamilton Spectator