Ontario NDPs say Phillips' Resignation not Enough


Ontario New Democrats say the resignation of Minister of Finance Rod Phillips doesn't go far enough.

Essex MPP Taras Natyshak called for Phillips to be fired Thursday. The now former minister took a trip to St. Barts on Dec. 13, despite the province asking everyone not to travel due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Phillips arrived at Toronto's Pearson International Airport Thursday and resigned after a meeting with Premier Doug Ford later in the day, but Windsor-West MPP Lisa Gretzky says he should face harsher penalties for violating public trust.

"Frankly, I would say that Rod Phillips should have resigned his seat as an MPP," she says. "It shouldn't have just been him being removed from cabinet, because in August he also traveled out of the country to Switzerland."

In a statement Thursday, Ford said, "our government takes seriously our obligation to hold ourselves to a higher standard."

Gretzky says his actions don't match his words.

"The premier of the province has not taken strong enough measures with regards Phillips or anybody else within the caucus including himself, who helped facilitate the cover-up," she added.

The New Democrat says there needs to be further discussion on consequences for elected officials who ignore the rules.

"Resigning from cabinet is not enough, there needs to be harsher punishment with politicians who are telling people to follow public health advice and should be leading by example," Gretzky added.

Treasury Board President Peter Bethlenfalvy has stepped in as minister of finance.