From the second I read the news release last Friday stating that Jim Wilson was resigning from Doug Ford’s cabinet, I knew something was wrong.
The statement said that Wilson was resigning to seek help with addictions:
The Honourable Jim Wilson has resigned as Minister of Economic Development, Job Creation, and Trade, effective immediately.
Mr. Wilson will also be resigning from the Progressive Conservative caucus to seek treatment for addiction issues.
That’s part of the emailed statement that showed up in my inbox at 6:12 pm on Friday, hours after Wilson had appeared at a sign unveiling with Ford.
The statement never seemed legit.
A few things jumped out with this statement. First Ford did not thank Wilson for his many years of service, nor wish him well in dealing with his addictions.
The giveaway though was the second paragraph.
When someone is simply stepping down due to their addictions issues they are normally thanked and wished well and they are not removed from caucus.
The statement said that Wilson was resigning from the PC caucus. Let’s be clear, he was kicked out.
Ford and his team sought to mislead.
I was getting ready to sit down on Monday and write about how Ford owed a greater explanation. That if he was truly leading a government for the people that he had to be honest with the people.
Then Global News broke the story of why Wilson, and a former top staffer to Ford, both “resigned” on Friday.
So the allegations are that Wilson had some sort of inappropriate sexual interaction with a male staffer at Queen’s Park. Was it a grope, a text, words? We don’t know.
Meanwhile Andrew Kimber, a former top aide to Ford, is alleged to have sent sexual text messages to at least one female staffer. The reports vary on one or more.
Full disclosure, Kimber worked with me briefly at Sun News Network though we worked in separate cities and didn’t interact often.
See, that is more full disclosure than Premier Ford gave.
Which is wrong for a government that brands itself as “Ontario’s Government for the People.”
The public deserves to know.
While the public doesn’t actually need to know all that much about Kimber, a man most would not have heard of before this story, they do need to know why a minister of the crown is suddenly vanishing.
Wilson was one of the top performers in Ford’s cabinet and a long serving MPP. To have him just disappear with no explanation was wrong and would never have worked long term.
For goodness sake, Ford’s handling of this has me agreeing with the Toronto Star editorial board which is not something that happens often.
Had the government come forward and stated what they knew and the action they were taken they may even have won reluctant praise from their opponents. In many ways, other than the secrecy, Ford and his team handled this well.
Apparently investigations have been started and the people accused, I am led to believe credibly, have been removed.
This could have been held up to show that the Ford government doesn’t accept sexual impropriety in the workplace.
Instead it is an example of failure, an example of cover up.
An example this government should not repeat.