Controversy continues to swirl in the Scarborough-Agincourt race in the provincial election campaign. The target is on Liberal candidate Soo Wong.
Wong’s decision to run for MPP just a year after being re-elected as a school board trustee has made her the centre of criticism among her opponents – all of whom believe the move to be a potential conflict of interest.
Green Party candidate Pauline Thompson believed the political move to have its own set of problems, one of which being the toll it could take on taxpayers.
“If Soo is elected, she will have to resign her position as trustee and a byelection will have to take place costing municipal taxpayers [around] an additional $56,000,” she said.
“This at a time when Rob Ford is slashing and burning public services to meet our financial obligations municipally, it feels a little cavalier with our hard earned and scarce tax dollars.”
NDP candidate Paul Choi openly attacked Wong at an all-candidates debate a few weeks ago, claiming that Wong would be letting down all who voted for her the first time around. He expects that Wong will be open about this move affecting residents in the riding.
“Considering one cannot be both an MPP and a school board trustee at the same time, it is my hope that candidates would be honest and forthcoming about any potential conflicts of interest,” he said.
“If I become an elected official of Scarborough-Agincourt, I will serve the residents for the full term of my commitment. I think this is the fair and transparent thing to do.”
Thompson had similar sentiments.
“I’m wondering why she ran for trustee if she wasn’t committed to seeing her role through to completion,” she said.
“I think voters expect their elected officials to fulfill their public service commitment.”
Although Wong took her official leave of absence on Aug. 31, she still continues to take on certain responsibilities of being a school board trustee.
She says her salary has been donated to a local rotary club since the announcement of her candidacy in May.
After repeated attempts to contact Wong about the issue, her office said she was unavailable for comment.