Ontario finance minister resigns amid storm of criticism
Shady Salah – Media in Toronto
Ontario’s finance minister has resigned from his cabinet position after going on a Caribbean vacation during the pandemic, which sparked a storm of criticism against him.
In a statement Thursday afternoon, Premier Doug Ford said he had accepted Phillips’ resignation after speaking to the Ajax MPP, who hours earlier returned from his vacation to the tropical island of St. Barts.
” 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 said. The premier said he had asked Treasury Board President Peter Bethlenfalvy to take over as finance minister and deliver the province’s 2021 budget.
“This appointment will help ensure economic stability in the months ahead, as we support Ontario families, workers and businesses through the COVID-19 pandemic, and as we chart our path to long-term economic recovery” the premier said.
Phillips said he deeply apologizes for his decision to travel abroad during this time and that there is nobody to blame but himself. He called the trip a "dumb, dumb mistake.”
“Obviously, I made a significant error in judgment, and I will be accountable for that," Phillips said from Pearson airport in Toronto on Thursday. “I do not make any excuses for the fact that I travelled when we shouldn’t have travelled.”
Watch the video CP24’s Steve Ryan at Pearson International Airport upon his return on Thursday morning.