BREAKING: Doug Ford accepts resignation of minister who went on vacation during lockdown

Ontario Premier Doug Ford told media that he has accepted the resignation of disgraced Finance Minister Rod Phillips

Roberto Wakerell-Cruz Montreal QC

Ontario Premier Doug Ford told media that he has accepted the resignation of Finance Minister Rod Phillips after it was revealed earlier this week that the minister flew to a Caribbean island for a holiday vacation.

"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," said Ford in a statement released on Thursday.

Peter Bethlenfalvy, president of the treasury board, will take pick up where Phillips left off ahead of the 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," said Ford, according to The Toronto Sun.

Phillips left the country for St. Barthelemy, an pricey island in the Caribbean some time earlier in December. The office of the premier said that Ford was not aware of Phillips' trip until after he had left Canada.

Phillips arrived back in Canada on Thursday morning, at Ford's request. Phillips said that he hoped to regain the public's trust, apologizing for what he called a "dumb mistake."

"I wanted to take this opportunity to unreservedly apologize for my decision to travel over the holidays... I've disappointed no one more than myself."

"It was a significant error in judgment. A dumb, dumb mistake, I apologize for it, I regret it," Philips said at Pearson airport Thursday morning.

Christmas misdirection

Criticism against Phillips came from multiple directions, as many pointed out that the minister had uploaded a video from his Ontario home wishing Canadians a safe and happy Christmas Eve. The video, which was filmed prior to Phillips' departure to St. Barthelemy, was not made to fool the public into thinking he was still in the country, said the minister, according to CP24.

"I understand why some people believe that is the case but it is not – many politicians, in fact most politicians pre-plan and pre-load messages on social media," said Phillips on Thursday.

This is a breaking news story and will be updated.


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