Photo above: 3pm on 22 October 2023 BBQ at Riverwalk Commons - half way through the event

Dawn's Second Annual "Free" Community BBQ

Newmarket-Aurora Progressive Conservative MPP, Dawn Gallagher Murphy, billed taxpayers $9,376.75 for her “second annual free community BBQ” held at the Riverwalk Commons in Newmarket last October. 

Her first "free" BBQ in 2022 cost the taxpayers $11,160. This was almost one quarter of her entire annual budget for “office operations”.

Last October when I quizzed her about the use of taxpayers' money to fund her BBQ she told me it was an absolutely appropriate use of public money.

Thin on the Ground

There was a dispute last year about how many people showed up to the BBQ.

Newmarket Today originally estimated 200 people but this correction appeared in an update on 23 October 2023:

Editor's Note, Oct. 23, 2023: This article was altered to update the attendance figure from 200 to 400 based on information provided by Dawn Gallagher Murphy's constituency office. 

Gallagher Murphy claimed 400+ compared with 500 the year before. I spent an hour there just chatting to folk and it was perfectly obvious people were thin on the ground.

Public Subsidy of $23 per person

Even on Gallagher Murphy’s own figures each person attending the “free” BBQ was getting a public subsidy of around $23.

Personally, I think most people would choke on their hot dog if they realised taxpayers were paying for their "free" meal.

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It's not just Dawn Gallagher Murphy who is treating constituents. Though she started the trend. This is how the Progressive Conservative MPP, Deepak Anand, does it in Mississagua. His thanksgiving celebration cost the taxpayers an eye-watering $16,950.

Update on 15 March 2024 from Newmarket Today

Below: Gallagher Murphy's claim for hospitality expenses. (See also: some mistake?