'Kick in the teeth': UWindsor professor says Ontario finance minister lost trust after pandemic vacation
WINDSOR, ONT. -- An apology from Ontario Finance Minister Rod Phillips upon his return home for his secret Caribbean vacation during a province-wide lockdown was not enough, according to a University of Windsor associate political science professor.
Earlier Thursday, Lydia Miljan, also a senior fellow at the Fraser Institute, said he should resign because voters will no longer believe what the minister says.
“For me, it’s not so much the accountability, it’s that he’s lost our trust,” said Miljan.
Miljan points to a series of scheduled tweets showing the minister visiting local businesses and sharing a Christmas message to constituents on his verified Twitter account while he was in St. Barts as deceptive.
“It’s the pre-planned tweets but, it’s also engaging in meetings having a backdrop where you look like you’re at Queen’s Park,” said Miljan.
Minister Phillips’ position in the government also adds to the issue, according to Miljan.
Miljan says Phillips was the Number-2 person in the government and has been a key part of instituting painful lockdown measures; and to defy the very measures he’s brought in is hard to swallow.
“I’m angry. I think a lot of us are angry. It’s really frustrating,” said Miljan. “He’s the finance minister and at a time where region’s such as ours are in full lockdown and have been for quite some time, and will continue into January, that’s really a kick in the teeth for small business owners.”
Phillips apologized upon his return, speaking to CP24 at Toronto Pearson International Airport.
“I know that I disappointed a lot of people. I hope people appreciate I disappointed no one more than myself,” said Phillips. “I know that people are understandably angry about the situation and I do hope to be able to regain their confidence in the days and weeks ahead.”
Phillips will now be required to quarantine for 14 days. He has been in St. Barts since Dec. 13.
More to come.