Ford staffers knew Rod Phillips would be away from Toronto for over a month

The finance minister then went to St. Barts, a high-end travel destination where Airbnb's are listed in the thousands per night.

Roberto Wakerell-Cruz Montreal QC

The Ford government was aware of travel plans made by now-disgraced Finance Minister Rod Phillips, new documents obtained by The Globe and Mail show.

E-mails show that top staffers knew that Phillips would "not be available in person" prior to leaving Toronto.

The finance minister then went to St. Barts, a high-end travel destination where Airbnb's are listed for thousands of dollars per night.

A Freedom of Information request by the Ontario Liberals found that Phillips travelled on multiple occasions, including a trip to Switzerland.

Video from a Zoom meeting that Phillips participated in also landed him in hot water, as the sound of waves could be heard in the background.

Phillips resigned from his position in cabinet on January 1.

Doug Ford would go on to tell the public that Phillips did not inform him of his trip, and that he only became aware of his departure after he left.

New e-mails show that top advisors and even Ford's chief of staff, James Wallace, were aware that Phillips would be away for the holidays, just as the province announced a shutdown.

One email to the deputy chief of staff explicitly says that Phillips would be "away," continuing: "will not be in Toronto and not available in person between the dates of December 12th and January 19th.”

"He will be completely available via teleconference, teams, zoom, etc. and will still be attending cabinet meetings virtually. I think he will let the Premier know directly as well."


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