ROD PHILLIPS RESIGNS AS FINANCE MINISTER OVER CONTROVERSIAL CARIBBEAN TRIP
Dec 31, 2020
By Bob Komsic
Rod Phillips walked out the Ford cabinet door instead of being shown it.
Doug Ford says after talking with Phillips, he accepted his resignation as Ontario finance minister.
Phillips will continue as MPP for Ajax.
The premier issued a statement, that reads in part:
”At a time when the people of Ontario have sacrificed so much, today’s resignation is a demonstration that our government takes seriously our obligation to hold ourselves to a higher standard.”
Ford says he’s asked Treasury Board President Peter Bethlenfalvy to also assume role of finance minister and deliver the 2021 budget.
Hours earlier, when Phillips arrived back from his trip to St. Barts he told reporters at Pearson Airport that he had made ”a dumb, dumb mistake” but indicted he did not intend to step down.
Pressed why he planned the trip even as the government and public health officials told Ontarians not to travel over Christmas and to stay home as much as possible, Phillips said ”I’ve been asking myself the same thing over the last number of days.”
In his own statement, Phillips repeated he should not have gone on vacation.
”Travelling over the holidays was the wrong decision, and I once again offer my unreserved apology.
Ensuring Ontario emerges from COVID-19 in a strong position was my priority as the Minister of Finance, and it should be the government’s priority going forward.”
Opposition Leader Andrea Horwath put out her own statement.
”Doug Ford knew about Rod Phillips’ trip to St. Barts two weeks ago. Not only did Ford not fire him then, he helped him keep the trip a secret. Phillips’ resignation from cabinet today is not because of Phillips’ vacation, it’s because they got caught.”