Natyshak: Premier’s custom van is ‘shameful’

Essex MPP Taras Natyshak speaks to seniors at a town hall meeting in Essex, April 27, 2018. Photo by Mark Brown/Blackburn News.

A local member of provincial parliament says a retrofitted camper van for the premier should go nowhere fast.

Essex MPP Taras Natyshak provided a statement Monday afternoon responding to reports that Premier Doug Ford had ordered a camper van to be retrofitted and custom-made to his specifications.

A report by The Globe and Mail Monday outlined recently-revealed reports that Ford had ordered changes to his Ontario Provincial Police security team. Also, the premier had demanded that a camper van be retrofitted with specific features for his travels around the province, to the tune of over $50,000.

Natyshak used the statement to call out the premier, saying the van is inappropriate considering there are 4,000 people in his riding who are on a waiting list for affordable housing.

“It is absolutely shameful that Doug Ford is telling Ontarians to tighten their belts and accept deep cuts to the services families depend on, while he is spending their money on a swanky customized personal pleasure wagon,” said Natyshak. “Now we know that the custom retrofit for the ‘Fordmobile’ includes leather swivel captain chairs, a mini-fridge, a leather reclining sofa and a TV with a blu-ray player… all on top of the cost of the van itself.”

According to the Globe and Mail report, the estimate for the van was provided by a Mississauga company. In court filings dated February 15, OPP Deputy Commissioner Brad Blair had gone public with internal emails concerning Ford’s request for the van and the premier’s request that he have a dedicated security team, rather than one consisting of rotating officers. The premier’s office has denied any wrongdoing and condemned the release of internal emails to the public.