Doug Ford confirms misconduct allegations against Wilson

Five days after a press release said a longtime MPP was leaving the PC caucus because of addiction problems, Ontario Premier Doug Ford confirmed it was because of sexual misconduct allegations reported by local media.

“When they ask me not to contact the media or make it a public story, they’re a priority,” Ford said in Trenton, speaking publicly for the first time since the sudden resignation of former cabinet minister Jim Wilson.

On Friday, the party sent out a short statement that said Wilson was no longer a minister or member of the caucus.

“He has entered a treatment facility to deal with addiction issues,” the statement said.

But this week, Global News first reported the real reason was because of allegations of sexual misconduct, followed by other reports including misconduct allegations were what led to the resignation of Andrew Kimber, who served as executive director of issues management.

Ford repeated he didn’t disclose the allegations at the request of the victims.

“If I were to five the media the story against the wishes of the people that had the courage to come forward at a very stressful time asking us  it to come forward to the media, I think it would be irresponsible for the media, I think it would be irresponsible for our party, and as a leader, I will not do that,” he said.

The PCs have launched a third-party investigation and Ford said they would eventually disclose who is conducting it.

However, he would not commit to releasing the findings, once again he said, to protect the identities.

When asked to clarify on the original statement that Wilson resigned due to drinking, Ford said that is a real problem.

“Mr. Wilson has gone to rehab, following that, immediately after, they said there’s been allegations,” he said. “I’m going to protect that person, no matter who it is.”

Ford was also asked how he’ll address the clear leaking of information in his party, but stuck to his message about protection.

“I want to make sure our team is very clear, I have zero tolerance for this behaviour, I won’t put up with it,” he said.

No formal charges have been brought against either Wilson or Kimber and neither have commented publicly.

Ford didn’t seem to offer any indication they could be allowed back in the party.

“They’re done, they’re gone, see you later,” he said.