Ford Government Scandals and Cabinet Minister Changes

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Ford Government Scandals and Cabinet Minister Changes

On Friday Economic Development Minister Jim Wilson resigned abruptly not only from the ministry but from the PC caucus. The Ford government claimed initially that the resignation was the result of addiction issues. However, there are now numerous media reports that it was over allegations of sexual misconduct. Ford's Executive Director of issues Management, Andrew Kimber, has also resigned over alleged sexual allegations on Friday without the Ford government mentioning what caused his resignation. This also raises questions in the public's minds about the honesty of the government as it did not reveal the  alleged reasons for the resignations.

It was allegations of sexual misconduct, not an alcohol addiction, that led to the resignation of Economic Development Minister Jim Wilson, according to multiple media reports. Global News reports that the allegations were brought forward by a male staffer at Queen’s Park and Premier Doug Ford learned of them on Friday — the day Wilson resigned. A statement from Ford’s office late Friday stated that Wilson resigned from cabinet and the Tory caucus “to seek treatment for addiction issues” related to alcohol.

Wilson had been Ford’s most senior minister and was a PC MPP for 28 years. Back in July 2014, he was elected interim party leader after former leader Tim Hudak resigned. Wilson held that role until Patrick Brown took over as leader in May the following year.

A report by Global News cites multiple sources also claiming Andrew Kimber, the premier’s executive director of issues management and legislative affairs, resigned Friday over allegations of sexually inappropriate text messages sent to a female Queen’s Park staffer.

On Monday afternoon, the premier’s office released the following statement on both resignations:

“Jim Wilson is no longer a Minister of the Government, nor is he a member of the PC Caucus. He has entered a treatment facility to deal with addiction issues. 

Andrew Kimber resigned from the Premiers office.

As a matter of policy, we don’t comment on specific details of internal staffing matters.



In a major cabinet shuffle after just four months in office, Ford also removed Michael Tibollo from the cabinet after a controversial but short term in office. 

Most recently, media reports surfaced that Tibollo was criticized by the Ontario Securities Commission for his actions as a lawyer in the 1990s related to a $30 million stock fraud.   ...

Ford was praising Tibollo as recently as Thursday. During question period, the premier called Tibollo "the most credible minister down here. He has integrity, he has transparency and he's an absolute champion. I'll stand beside him any day, 365 days a year," said Ford. ...

Last month, Tibollo denied campaigning for a Vaughan city council candidate whose cottage and husband are under investigation by the OPP. Tibollo also came under fire for comments he made during question period in July when he told the chamber that he wore a bulletproof vest while on a police ride-along in Toronto's Jane and Finch neighbourhood, drawing criticism from all three opposition parties.



With numerous changes in cabinet after just four months in office, something rarely seen because cabinet ministers have at that point have not even come close to understanding the complex issues and structure of their ministry at a detailed level, this is almost certainly going to lead to further problems. It also raises major questions about whether the Ford cabinet functions at a basic competence level.  

In a release issued Monday morning, Ford said Progressive Conservative House Leader Todd Smith will take on the additional role of minister of economic development, job creation and trade to replace Jim Wilson, who stepped down on Friday.

John Yakabuski, who served as transportation minister, will become minister of natural resources and forestry. Jeff Yurek, who held the natural resources portfolio, will take on the transportation file.

Sylvia Jones will take over the job of community safety and correctional services minister from Michael Tibollo, who will become minister of tourism, culture and sport.

Bill Walker will join cabinet by succeeding Smith as minister of government and consumer services.

Some caucus positions are also shifting, with Lorne Coe appointed government caucus whip and Doug Downey deputy whip. Ford said all other ministerial, parliamentary assistant, and government caucus and committee roles will remain unchanged.

Critics voiced concerns about the suddenness of the shuffle, saying Ford needs to explain his reasons for making such significant changes so soon into his mandate.

“These actions make it abundantly clear that Ford is trying to paper over the problems in his hand-picked cabinet. To remove and demote a number of ministers after just a few months is troubling,” NDP deputy leader Sara Singh said in a news conference. “I think it makes us wonder, you know, is this government ready to govern and are they ready to do the things that they need to do for Ontario’s families.”

Governments typically sit for at least a year — enough time to see policies develop — before switching their lineup, said Genevieve Tellier, a political science professor at the University of Ottawa. It’s also unclear why Ford made so many changes rather than simply replacing Wilson, though it suggests the premier was not satisfied with how a few ministers were handling their portfolios despite praising some of them as recently as last week, Tellier said.

“Maybe Ford was expecting more from those ministries,” she said, noting that transportation appeared to be a priority in the election campaign but has not generated any major policies since then. That may be part of the explanation and if so, then we should expect more activity in the coming months about those portfolios.”



I find it kind of harsh that the Ontario pc would come out and say something along the lines that one of their ministers is retiring due to addiction treatment. That may even be slander?

Mr. Magoo Mr. Magoo's picture

Evidently he checked himself into a rehab facility.  If he wished this to remain confidential then the party may have broken some confidentiality rules by divulging this, but then if the sexual impropriety story is true, he may also have asked the party to say only that.  We probably assume alcohol or drugs, but maybe he feels he's a sex addict.

I can see stepping down from a Cabinet post to deal with an addiction issue, but quitting caucus seems more than is needed in order to take a month or two medical leave of absence.

As for the abrupt turfings and shufflings, I hate to be so cliche here, but I cannot help thinking of Trump.  Names on the office doors in the West Wing are probably just written in whiteboard marker for convenience.


Doug Ford today finally confirmed after announcing  that while  Economic Development Minister Jim Wilson has resigned over an addiction problem, he also resigned over sexual misconduct. 

Ontario Premier Doug Ford has publicly acknowledged for the first time that he forced former trade and economic minister Jim Wilson to resign over allegations of sexual misconduct, not only addiction issues, as his office had originally said. ...

Mr. Ford also confirmed that his office launched third-party investigations into Mr. Wilson and Andrew Kimber, one of Mr. Ford’s former top staffers who also resigned last Friday, over allegations of sexually inappropriate text messages. “In the case of Andrew Kimber, one person came forward, an investigation was immediately launched, since then, others have come forward. The investigation is ongoing,” a spokesman for the Premier said. ...

NDP deputy leader Sara Singh said in a statement that protecting a victim of sexual misconduct “is the right thing to do.” But she added that it was not necessary to protect “a powerful man accused of sexual misconduct.”

“Mr. Ford absolutely could have been honest, and told Ontarians that there were serious allegations against his most senior minister, and could have done that without revealing the identity of anyone impacted. He didn’t — he chose to mislead the public to protect Mr. Wilson,” she said.



A third member of Ford's administration, John Sinclair who was Executive Director of the PC Caucus Service Bureau, has been dismissed, apparently because he knew about Andrew Kimber's allegations of misconduct and did nothing about them. Once again minimal information is being given out about the dismissal as the PCs avoid disclosing the entire story. 

The departure of a senior Ford administration staffer from the PC Caucus Service Bureau on Thursday was directly connected to the resignation of the premier’s director of issues management a week prior, CTV News Toronto has learned.

A government spokesperson said Thursday that John Sinclair, Executive Director of the PC Caucus Service Bureau, was no longer in his role. The spokesperson would not say whether Sinclair resigned or was fired.

Sinclair was responsible MPPs budgets, drafting bills and Human Resources. 

Sources tell CTV News Toronto that Sinclair appeared to be aware of other allegations of misconduct against Andrew Kimber, but had not disclosed those allegations to anyone before.

Kimber served as Premier Doug Ford’s executive director of issues management. He was accused of sending sexually inappropriate text messages to PC staffers.

He resigned his post last Friday.

Kimber issued a statement Thursday apologizing for the “pain” he caused others, and said “everyone has the right to live and work free from harassment.”

Sinclair’s exit is the third departure from the PC’s elected caucus and political staff in six days.

It follows Kimber’s resignation as well as Economic Development Minister Jim Wilson, who resigned from cabinet and caucus over what was first described as an addiction issue but was later revealed to be related to an allegation of sexual misconduct.

The NDP is demanding the government “come clean” about what has gone on, while Ford has committed to conducting a full third party investigation into all allegations.



John Sinclair, Executive Director of the PC Caucus Service Bureau, who was dismissed last week has hired a lawyer to dispute allegations against himself. 

A senior PC staffer no longer in his role says the suggestion made last week that his exit is tied to the dismissal of another senior Ford staffer last week is “categorically false” and the truth will be “revealed in time.”

Last Thursday evening, a brief statement in response to inquiries from CP24 revealed that John Sinclair, the PC Caucus Service Bureau’s executive director, left his job.

It was the third departure from the PC government in six days, followingthe resignations of Economic Development Minister Jim Wilson and Premier Doug Ford’s executive director of issues management, Andrew Kimber.

Ford’s team originally said Wilson was leaving cabinet and caucus due to an addictions issue, but it was later revealed his exit was due to an allegation of sexual misconduct. ...

On Tuesday, his lawyer Scott Hutchinson said “the insinuation that has been in the media about John – that he was in some way deficient in his handling of the recent dismissal of Andrew Kimber, Executive Director of Issues Management and Legislative Affairs from the Office of the Premier of Ontario – is categorically false.”

“As with all sensitive staffing matters, John Sinclair acted with efficiency and professionalism.”


The NDP and Greens are calling for an investigation of into a Ford senior staffer, Dean French, interfering in the firing of Alykhan Velshi at a Crown Corporation, Ontario Power Generation. Sources say French requested Velshi, who had worked for the previous PC leader, Patrick Brown, be fired on his first day on the job. Many view this as a Ford vendatta against those associated with Patrick Brown.


Ontario’s opposition parties are calling for an investigation into allegations that a senior aide to Premier Doug Ford interfered in staffing matters at one of the province’s Crown corporations.

A Globe and Mail report published Tuesday alleged that Dean French, Ford’s chief of staff, personally asked the Ontario Power Generation to fire Alykhan Velshi, who used to hold a key role in the office of Ford’s predecessor – former Progressive Conservative leader Patrick Brown.

Citing unnamed sources, the report said Velshi was fired the day he started working for the OPG after French asked the head of the company’s board for his removal, but his termination has yet to formally take effect. ...

Velshi, who has deep roots in the Conservative party – he previously served in the office of former prime minister Stephen Harper – referred all questions to the OPG.

The government refused to comment on the allegations against Ford’s aide, and French did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

OPG CEO Jeffrey Lyash said that Velshi still works for the company and that he doesn’t publicly discuss personnel matters. Lyash added that he has never spoken with French. ...

“I’ve read what I’ve read in the paper but I personally don’t have knowledge of that,” he said. “Personnel decisions are mine as the CEO of the company, for Mr. Velshi and for every other employee, and I try to make them in a balanced way and confidentially.”

Green party Leader Mike Schreiner says Ontario’s Integrity Commissioner, or potentially another agency, should look into the matter.

“If it’s proven then I think (French) should resign because it’s an inappropriate over-reach of power,” he said.

NDP deputy leader Sara Singh said the move looks as if Ford’s office is settling a political grudge.

“The premier is taking out his political revenge or vendettas…on these individuals and they’re receiving these large severance packages which are coming from Ontario taxpayers,” she said.




Ford appears to be pursuing a vendetta against a fellow member of the Progressive Conservatives in the reuqested firing of Alykhan Velshi on his first day on the job, as described in the previous post, because he was an ally of previous PC leader, Patrick Brown. Unfortunately, its the taxpayer who ends up paying the $500,000 bill for this. 

Practising petty, vindictive politics is bad enough. Doing so when it will cost taxpayers as much as $500,000 when you’re purporting to be a frugal, cost-cutting government is the height of hypocrisy. 

Doug Ford’s government has put itself in that sorry position by ordering the firing of a top executive of Ontario Power Generation, Alykhan Velshi. Velshi just happens to have served as chief of staff to the Progressive Conservative party’s previous leader, Patrick Brown, and this looks very much like part of a settling of accounts between the Ford and Brown camps.

Pursuing a vendetta against enemies, real or perceived, inside his own party isn’t a good look for Ford. It’s especially bad when, as the Star’s Robert Benzie reports, ousting Velshi from his position as OPG’s senior vice-president of corporate affairs and community relations may cost the government up to $500,000 in severance payments. ...

But what’s a measly half-million when the latest provincial budget shows spending running at $158.5 billion? Actually, it adds up. For example, it’s exactly the amount of money that a charity called Pro Bono Ontario is seeking from the province to continue offering free legal aid to some 18,000 people. Attorney-General Caroline Mulroney has told the organization to look elsewhere for the money. Times, after all, are tough and the government has to tighten its belt.


And the expected unfolding disaster unfolds.   If progressive action doesn't bring them down, perhaps their incompetance and infighting will do it for us.