Jan 14, 2022
By Christine Ross
High-profile Ontario cabinet minister Rod Phillips is resigning at the end of next month and won’t seek re-election.
The Ajax MPP served as environment minister for the first year of Doug Ford’s government.
He was later named finance minister, but resigned from that position in December 2020, after he returned from a controversial two-week trip to St. Barts despite public health rules against travel.
Ford brought him back into cabinet last year as long-term care minister.
Liberal Leader Steven Del Duca says it’s clear why seven Conservative MPPs have announced they are not seeking re-election
“Phillips doesn’t want to stick around just like his colleague Jeff Yurek, a former cabinet minister who made a similar announcement just a few days ago, it’s a clear sense that people inside Doug Ford’s government do not have confidence in his ability to lead this province through the rest of the pandemic,” said Del Duca.
The NDP and Green Party share concerns that long term care will fall through the cracks amid this OMICRON wave.
They say it’s also unusual for a sitting minister to exit so abruptly.
In a statement, the 56-year-old says he`s looking forward to returning to the private sector.
“I have spoken with Premier Ford and with Brian Patterson, president of the Ontario PC Party, to inform them of my decision not to seek re-election and to step down next month as the MPP for Ajax. This will allow the premier to appoint a successor to continue the important work of the Ministry of Long-Term Care. It also ensures that the PC Party has the time needed to nominate a candidate in Ajax and prepare for the provincial election.”
Just last week, another caucus member, Jeff Yurek, who was shuffled out of cabinet last year – also announced he`s resigning and will not seek re-election.