MPP Laura Mae Lindo steps away from provincial politics

Cites being single parent at Queen’s Park, travel and family

Laura Mae Lindo

Lindo says she did not make the decision lightly and there were a couple of reasons behind it, one of which was wanting and needing to be home with her family.

The NDP member of the Ontario Legislature says the death of her father in November after he was ill, followed by the death of a cousin days later, “left me in a place where I was really thinking about that … close support network that I have. Both my parents were in their 80s, the rest of my family lives outside Waterloo region and I’m a single parent of three kids.”

She said the high cost of child care was also an issue.

Lindo said being a single parent who doesn’t live in Toronto, but is expected at Queen’s Park regularly when the house is sitting, required her to pay child care above and beyond what she would normally pay as a parent with a job locally.

She tried to work behind the scenes to make changes to get support for other MPPs who are parents, but didn’t get very far.

“The system sort of proved itself unwilling to provide that,” she said. “I found myself grappling with the fact that a lot of everyday people, like myself, can’t afford to do the job and we’re just missing a whole ton of potential leaders as our elected representatives.”

She said she tried to talk to people at Queen’s Park to explain this wasn’t an issue that just impacted her.

“This is about equity, it’s not actually about me. It doesn’t matter what party you’re in … if you’re a single parent and you’re at Queen’s Park, but you live outside of Toronto, you need to have that support or you won’t be able to do the job and feel that your kids are safe at home,” she said.

Lindo says the Legislative Assembly Act lays out the housing allowance for MPPs. A change to that to permit child care support that is not a taxable benefit would help other single parents take on the job.

“What happened for me was, a decision was made that they would try to help me with the additional care costs but they made it a taxable benefit, so when I filed my taxes, I ended up owing $6,000,” she said.

“They explained to me that if I carried on and was at Queen’s Park Monday to Thursday for the entirety of our schedule, I would always owe somewhere between $6,000 and $8,000,” she said.

“I don’t know a single parent that would be able to find that, to pay to be the representive for the community, no matter how much they love their community.”

Interim NDP Leader Peter Tabuns issued a statement thanking Lindo for being “an integral member” of the party, and called her a “tireless advocate” for her constituents.

Lindo was first elected MPP for Kitchener Centre in 2018, when she beat Liberal incumbent Daiene Vernile.

She was among the names floated when former NDP leader Andrea Horwath stepped down after the 2022 provincial election, but announced in November she would not seek the leadership.

Lindo has served as the NDP’s critic on anti-racism and equity as well as colleges and universities.