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Ontario politicians to take a nearly five month summer break

Last Updated Jun 6, 2019 at 3:30 pm EDT

Ontario Premier Doug Ford rises to answer questions in the legislature at Queen's Park. CITYNEWS

MPPs are set to take an extra long summer break, with politicians not returning until after the federal election.

The Progressive Conservative government has adjourned the legislature until Oct. 28 – the longest break in almost 25 years.

Normally, the legislature rises in early June and resumes shortly after Labour Day.

NDP Leader Andrea Horwath thinks the federal election is the reason for the long break.

“The way I see it either Mr. Ford wants to be available to campaign for (federal Conservative Leader) Andrew Scheer, or Andrew Scheer’s asking Doug Ford to hide under a rock during the federal campaign,” she said.

Some polls suggest that Ford is unpopular and that may be hurting Scheer’s chances in Ontario ahead of the Oct. 21 election.

A spokesman for Scheer denied Horwath’s suggestion that the long break came at the federal leader’s request.

“Nobody in the Office of the Leader of the Official Opposition was in touch with Premier Ford’s office about his decision to adjourn the legislature,” Daniel Schow wrote.

Two of Ford’s staffers recently left the premier’s office to work for Scheer.

“One of the things for sure that won’t be happening is we won’t be doing the business of Ontarians here in the legislature, which is Mr. Ford’s job,” said Horwath.

The government says that since its election one year ago, it has moved at an unprecedented pace, passing 20 bills – two on Thursday including one to cancel the the Ontario government’s contract with the Beer Store.

“We’ve been sitting for a long time,” said Government House Leader Todd Smith, noting the legislature sat through the summer after the election and for an extra week over the winter holiday.

“We’re very proud of all the accomplishments since we became the government of Ontario,” he said. “It’s time to go back to the drawing board and start coming up with how we’re going to fulfill the rest of our promises.”

Interim Liberal leader John Fraser says Ford’s priorities are out of whack.

“He can promote tailgating and mixed martial arts fighting in the fall economic statement and at the same time increase class sizes in the budget,” said Fraser. “He thinks being able to drink in the park at 9 a.m. is important but has no plan for climate change.”