We all heard Premier Ford tell us to stay home, avoid gatherings, avoid travel – for the common good. We have to work together to fight the pandemic. OK, the pandemic has been going on for a long time but we’re trying our best. Now we find out that provincial Finance Minister Rod Phillips took off for a luxury vacation in mid-December. Not only that, but he released social media posts which implied he was staying home as he thanked the public for doing the same.
Toronto’s Mayor John Tory has spoken out in Minister Phillips defense, saying: “He made a mistake in this instance which he has owned up to and he’s now going to return to the country and keep doing his job, which he’s been doing throughout the time. So, it’s one of those things where it’s very unfortunate but at the end of the day I think he has learned a lesson from it as, probably, have a lot of other people watching what is going on.” He went on: “The kind of horse-whipping he was given by the premier is something that is not a great experience to have when you’re on a team in politics like that and he got one of those yesterday,” Sorry Mayor Tory, but that won’t do. It’s not “unfortunate” it’s hypocritical. How can we have any trust in our provincial leadership when they say one thing for us but do another thing altogether. Mayor Tory’s response seriously undermines his own credibility.
Premier Ford has asked Phillips to return home right away, and told the public “it will not be tolerated again.” That implies he intends to keep this character on in spite of Minister Phillips’ behaviour. Minister Phillips released a statement: “I deeply regret travelling over the holidays. It was a mistake and I apologize.” That’s it? Really? Sorry, but that’s just not good enough. He’s coming home, but only because he got caught.
If Premier Ford wants to salvage a shred of credibility, he needs to cut this guy loose.