These heavyweights not running for re-election

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TORONTO – Whatever happens on June 2, three important figures in Ontario politics will not return to the Queen’s Park benches: Health Minister Christine Elliott, Long-Term Care Minister Rod Phillips and former Premier Kathleen Wynne have all three announced their retirement from political life.

The departure of two prime ministers is a severe blow for the prime minister. With Rod Phillips and Christine Elliott, the government had shown a unique openness to civil society, especially as these two personalities quickly gained prominence in the cabinet.

Catapulted finance minister, Phillips has assumed the central role of the big Ontario moneymaker in a mission to eliminate the deficit inherited from the Liberals in 2018 and put the money back in the pockets of the ontars, a plan thwarted in the medium term by the outbreak of the la COVID-19 pandemic.

Rod Phillips, finance minister, pushed vacationer to resign and then returned Responsible for long-term care. ONFR + archives

Expelled in December 2020 for violating the Prime Minister’s instruction not to leave the territory without a valid reason, the former boss of the Postmedia group returned from the back door six months later thanks to a ministerial reshuffle. At the helm of Long-Term Care’s portfolio, Ajax’s elected official succeeded Merrilee Fullerton, herself criticized for her disastrous management of homes during the pandemic, according to several observers.

The announcement of his departure last January was joined by another tenor from the Ford nation: Christine Elliott.

Elliott in the eye of the health storm

The highly publicized Minister of Health, who will have been at the center of the health cyclone, has announced that he is giving up running for his succession as Newmarket-Aurora MP two months after Rod Phillips’ retirement.

Ms. Elliott is one of the few ministers to have maintained the same ministry despite the government reshuffle. She was a deputy for 13 years, she was first elected to the Whitby-Ajax constituency in 2006, trying three times to seize the leadership of progressive conservatives. Her last attempt, against Doug Ford and Caroline Mulroney, had been nearly the right one.

Christine Elliott, Minister of Health and Deputy Prime Minister has been bothering at Queen’s Park for two years. Image credit: Jackson Ho

Yesterday’s opponent, an essential ally later on, the trained lawyer who became deputy premier, suffered the invectives of the opposition for four years while it rained and shone on the sanitary measures, between the mood of Doug Ford and the recommendations of the scientists . She said it: she will no longer run, certainly exhausted by the pandemic and without hope of political ascent in the short term.

If re-elected, the Prime Minister will have to find a figure of Ms. Elliott’s caliber in a highly sensitive portfolio as the healthcare system continues its transformation and the pandemic isn’t over.

Wynne, the best and the worst

During his long political career, the former liberal prime minister experienced glory and humiliation. She was the first woman to hold the office of premier in Ontario in 2013, she was reconfirmed the following year, before suffering a bitter setback in 2018 that wiped out most of her caucus.

In the wake of the blue wave that followed 15 years of liberal rule, the elected representative of Don-Valley-Ouest nevertheless saved her seat as an MP, appearing among the seven surviving opposition liberals in a party with no official status. First elected in October 2003, she served for 19 years in the Legislative Assembly.

Kathleen Wynne, the province’s first female premier and the first openly gay leader. ONFR + archives

At the origin of the free of some university fees and the increase in the minimum wage to $ 14 an hour, the former premier also accompanied the foundations of the creation of the French University of Ontario – without ever completing the project – and transformed the Ontario Office of Francophone Affairs into a true Francophone Affairs Ministry. He had also presented an official apology before the Legislative Assembly for regulation 17 banning the teaching and use of French in elementary schools.

Without Martow, Barrett or Gravelle

The list doesn’t end there. To these departures is added that of the former parliamentary assistant to the minister of French-speaking affairs, Gila Martow. Elected since 2014, the Thornhill MP will have painfully tried to represent French-speaking interests since 2018, following the departure of MP Amanda Simard, when she slammed the party door in the wake of Black Thursday.

His most spectacular mistake on the Francophonie was to declare himself, in 2015, to the microphone ofONFR+, who was unaware of the existence of the Montfort Hospital crisis. ‘I don’t know Montfort at all, what is it? it had become a cult phrase.

Subsequently, his attempt to make the leap to federal government in the last elections of 2021 ended in failure, beaten in the race to the nomination of the conservatives by Melissa Lanstman, strategist of Doug Ford. Ms. Martow had to resign from her role as provincial parliamentary assistant and was barred from running for election in the upcoming Ontario elections. It is about a local soccer team manager who will try to win back her place.

MP Gila Martow, author of the famous phrase: “I don’t know Montfort at all, what is it about?” »ONFR + archives

Also noteworthy is the retirement of another progressive conservative: Toby Barrett, at the age of 76. The seven-term Ontario political veteran in Haldimand-Norfolk was first elected 27 years ago under the Harris government. He had been parliamentary assistant to the minister of agriculture, food and rural affairs.

Finally, the recent defection of Michael Gravelle, also after 27 years on the benches of Queen’s Park, should be noted. The liberal lawmaker from Thunder Bay-Superior North revealed last February that he had cancer and needed chemotherapy. “I had hoped and planned to continue representing my constituents in Queen’s Park. However, my health and the treatments that I will have to undergo in the coming months have made this plan impossible, ”admitted on social networks this former CBC publicist and founder of the North of Superior Film Association.

In the constituencies of these six political personalities, projections indicate that there should be no political alternation.

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