Newmarket-Aurora's MPP racked up the biggest singular expense of anyone in the provincial legislature in the last quarter with a community barbecue costing more than $11,000.
Progressive Conservative Dawn Gallagher Murphy expensed $11,160 for the event last October at Riverwalk Commons, which featured free food, music, face painting and more.
It was the most expensive singular item expensed by any MPP between October and December last year, according to financial disclosures released this month.
The event, billed as the first annual, offered a corn roast, free reusable water bottles for the first 500 attendees, a Central York Fire Services fire truck and live music from George St. Kitts.
“What a phenomenal success,” Gallagher Murphy said on her Facebook page about the event, adding that residents enjoyed the festivities “and the overall camaraderie of our local community.”
Gallagher Murphy was one of the highest-ranked MPPs in terms of expenses in the last quarter. With a total expense list of $12,308, only three MPPs had more expenses, according to financial disclosures. Two of them, Sol Mamakwa (approximately $13,937) and Greg Rickford (approximately $15,630) represent northern municipalities, with most of their expenses being related to travel.
Only Stéphane Sarrazin, representing Glengarry-Prescott-Russell, had an event approaching the cost of Gallagher Murphy’s. With total expenses paid listing more than $15,610, including two barbecue events in his riding, one costing more than $6,600 and another for approximately $3,000.
Gallagher Murphy declined to be interviewed or provide a comment.
Beyond the $11,160 associated with the event, the remainder of Gallagher Murphy’s expenses for her first months in office were much smaller. She had $322 in travel expenses, $764 for a caucus meeting in Brockville Sept. 20-21 and $63 for a Labour Day parade in Toronto Sept. 5.
The legislature will cover expenses for events hosted by MPPs, as long as they are non-partisan and non-political, publicly open and free of alcohol. Rules state it can cover refreshments, insurance, entertainment, space and equipment rentals, plus advertising.
Gallagher Murphy was first elected this past summer, with the fall legislative session being her first in office.