Ontario’s Finance Minister Rod Phillips has resigned from his position after a controversial trip to St. Barts.
Premier Doug Ford issued a statement on Thursday saying that he accepted Phillips’ resignation.
“Today, following my conversation with Rod Phillips, I have accepted his resignation as Ontario’s Minister of Finance,” he says in a statement.
“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.”
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Phillips said he went on vacation shortly after the Legislative Session ended on December 8 and acknowledged that if the lockdown was announced earlier the trip would have been cancelled—the province-wide lockdown began December 26.
On Wednesday, Ford told reporters that he knew of Phillips’ whereabouts before it was discovered that the finance minister went to St. Barts for a personal vacation.
“My mistake, and I take full responsibility. At that time, I should have said, ‘Get your backside back into Ontario,’ and I didn’t do that,” said Ford to reporters. “I did call him shortly after he arrived and I asked him and he said he was away.”
According to Ford, Phillips had never told him that he was leaving the country.
Minister Peter Bethlenfalvy will assume the role of Ontario’s Minister of Finance, on top of his current role as President of the Treasury Board.