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Ontario LTC Minister Rod Phillips says he will not seek re-election

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Rod Phillips, a prominent minister in the cabinet of Ontario Prime Minister Doug Ford, will not seek re-election in the June election, he announced on Twitter on Friday.

Phillips, who is the MPA for Ajax and the province’s long-term care minister, said he would step down from his posts next month.

He said he would return to the private sector.

Phillips served as environment minister for the first year of Prime Minister Doug Ford’s rule.

He was subsequently appointed finance minister, but resigned from that post in December 2020, hours after returning from a
Controversial two-week trip to St. Barts despite public health rules against travel at the time.

Ford brought him to the cabinet last year as minister of long-term care, and Phillips says in his statement that the timing of his announcement today will allow the prime minister to appoint someone else to head the ministry.

Rod Phillips served as environment minister for the first year of Prime Minister Doug Ford’s rule. He was subsequently appointed finance minister, but resigned from that post in December 2020, hours after returning from a controversial two-week trip to St. Petersburg. Barts, despite public health rules against travel at the time. (Frank Gunn / The Canadian Press)

Phillips said he told Ford and the leader of the Progressive Conservative Party about his decision and thanked Ford in a statement.

“This will allow the prime minister to appoint a successor to continue the important work of the Ministry of Long-Term Care,” Phillips wrote.

“He also ensures that the PC Party has the time needed to nominate a candidate to Ajax and prepare for the provincial elections.”

Elections in Ontario are scheduled for June 2.

Phillips acknowledged what he called Ford’s “strong leadership” through the COVID-19 pandemic, adding that he “has always put first and foremost what is best for the people of Ontario.”

“I remain convinced that the Ontarians will re-elect his government in the next election,” Phillips wrote.

The long-term care sector faces major challenges

Phillips will leave his post as the long-term care sector faces major challenges. More than 50 percent of long-term care homes were experiencing outbreaks of COVID-19 as of Friday, and more staff had confirmed infections than at any other point of the pandemic.

In the early stages of the COVID-19 pandemic, more than 3,800 residents died from the virus in long-term care homes in Ontario. The Ford government faces a storm of criticism as the death toll rises, in part because PCs hadcomprehensive scaled annual inspectionsof long-term care homes in 2019.

Vaccinations mean fewer people are dying than in previous waves of infections, but the Omicron variant is resulting in severe staff shortages across the province, leading to calls for military help as homes try to recruit workers.

Phillips entered public life in 2017 when former Progressive Conservative leader Patrick Brown recruited him to become the Tory Candidate for Ajax.

He briefly considered running for party leadership after Brown resigned in early 2018, but instead backed CarolineMulroney, who eventually lost to Ford.

Phillips won a seat in the legislature later that year and the environment minister oversaw the dismantling of the climate change plan to curb and trade the previous liberal government and announced Ford’s fight against the federal carbon tax.

Ford thanks Phillips for ‘tireless work’

Ford, meanwhile, thanked Phillips “for his tireless work representing the people of Ajax and advancing significant and necessary improvements to Ontario’s long-term care system.”

According to Ford, Phillips relies on government work to build much-needed homes for long-term care, to recruit more staff and personal support nurses, and, with the passage of the Long-Term Care Regulation Act 2021, to improve accountability and transparency. in the sector.

“These initiatives will have a lasting impact as they improve the lives of long-term care residents and their families,” Ford said in a statement.

Prior to entering politics, Phillips was CEO of OntarioLottery and Gaming Corporation and chairman of the publisher of the newspaper Postmedia.

He also served as chief of staff to former Progressive Conservative Labor Minister Elizabeth Witmer and former Toronto
Mayor Mel Lastman.

Phillips’ announcement comes a week after another member of the parliamentary group, Jeff Yurek, who was ousted from the cabinet last year, also said he would resign next month and not seek re-election in June.

Several other members of the parliamentary group have also announced that they will not seek re-election, but will stay until then.

Uncertainty endangers U.S. residents, says PHD

Sara Singh, Ontario NDP vice president and long-term care critic, said this is not the first time the government has changed long-term care ministers when residents were in the midst of a crisis and people are worried the elderly will fall in cracks again while the Ford government is in disarray.

“Spreads and staff shortages are rising again in long-term care homes, leaving residents at risk,” Singh said in a statement.

“Families with loved ones in long-term care feel like they have never been a priority for this government. They need immediate assurances that their loved ones will get the care and protection they need, including access to boosters and fourth doses. . “

According to Singh, staff also urgently needs boosters, paid sick days, better salaries and PPE, including N95.

“We need to see a plan now to keep seniors in safe long-term care during this wave. Omicron will not wait for Doug Ford to fix his home,” Singh said.

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2/ https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/toronto/rod-phillips-not-running-in-june-election-1.6315604

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