Wednesday , November 25 2020

Ford shuffles cabinets after loss of minister, staff



Ontario Premier Doug Ford is taking part in the Ontario legislature in Toronto on October 30, 2018.

Chris Young / The Canadian Press

Ontario Premier Doug Ford has shuffled his cabinet four months in his term, after the loss of a senior minister who is now facing a third party investigation.

On Monday, Global News reported that former former Minister for Economic Development and Trade Jim Wilson was forced to resign when confronted with an allegation of sexual abuse.

Municipal and Social Officer Lisa MacLeod confirmed Monday that the government initiated a third party investigation of an allegation against him without specifying his character. The resignation of the tax minister came the same day as Mr Ford lost a senior staff who Global said faces various allegations of sending sexually inappropriate text messages.

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Wilson resigned from his cabin position and from Progressive Conservative caucus suddenly on Friday, with the premier office saying he sought treatment for substance abuse problems. The Veteran Minister had spent most of the day with Mr. Ford touring Sarnia, Ont.

When asked about the statement on Monday, Mrs MacLeod confirmed only a survey had begun.

"My understanding is that quick action was taken … he left right away from the caucus and an investigation was instituted," MacLeod told reporters in Ottawa.

Mrs MacLeod also confirmed the presence of a second investigation. Andrew Kimber, Ford's former chief executive officer for problem management, resigned on Friday. He told The Globe on Sunday that he left policies to work in the private sector. However, Global reported that he was accused of sending sexually inappropriate text messages to an employee of the legislature. Mr. Kimber is married to Amanda Philp, Wilson's former chief of staff, although there is no evidence that the allegations are related.

"I know in both cases that today was revealed that investigations from third parties began to happen immediately," said MacLeod.

The Globe and Mail has not independently confirmed the claims. Neither Mr Wilson's office nor Kimber responded to the request for comments.

Mr Ford's office said on Monday that Wilson has entered a treatment facility to handle drug addiction and confirmed that Kimber resigned from the prime ministerial office.

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The office said it did not comment on details of internal staffing issues.

"Generally speaking, if charges are transferred to senior government or PC Caucus staff, a process is immediately activated and we provide staff with support and assurance of their right to work in an environment free from harassment," said in a statement.

"In order to protect the identity of each individual who submits a statement, we would not comment on the information."

News of the allegations were reported on Monday after Mr. Ford Cabinet Enhancement, which included a demotion for the embattled justice minister Michael Tibollo.

"After four months of unprecedented action, we take the opportunity to calibrate our cabinet missions in order to continue delivering our commitments to the people," said Mr Ford in a statement.

Mr. Tibollo, under fire the last few days after revealing that he or the law firm, as he had his head, was called for in several legal cases, moved to the role of Minister for Tourism, Culture and Sport. Sylvia Jones, the current Minister of Tourism, is appointed Minister of Social Protection and Correctional Services.

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Government House Leader Todd Smith, who took over Mr Wilson's post in an interim last week, takes over the job permanently.

Mr Smith was also Minister of Government and Consumer Services, a job that will now go to Government Whip Bill Walker.

John Yakabuski and Jeff Yurek change roles, with Mr Yakabuski as Minister for Natural Resources and Forestry, and Mr Yurek takes over the role of Transport Minister.

Marie Bountrogianni, a former Liberal Secretary, said that the early blend reflects that Ford took over the party with some time before the june.

"I do not think it's enough time for him to do what most of the premiers have the luxury to do," she said.


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