“Pure chaos”, “Disarray” Ontario opposition leaders worry for LTC patients after Ajax MPP Rod Phillips’ resignation

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Published January 14, 2022 at 5:40 pm

Rod Phillips

Ontario opposition leaders are not taking Ajax MPP Rod Phillips’ resignation announcement laying down. The Liberal and the New Democrats has both released statements from high ranking members describing the Ford Government as abdicating leadership.

Phillips announced earlier today that after serving in three cabinet positions in nearly four years, he would be stepping down as Minister of Long-Term Care and Ajax MPP in early February, and would not seek re-election in June.

“Outbreaks and staff shortages are surging in long-term care homes again, leaving residents at risk,” said MDP Deputy Leader Sara Singh. “This is not the first time the government has changed long-term care ministers when residents were in the middle of a crisis, and people are worried seniors will fall through the cracks again while the Ford government is in disarray.”

The change she is referring to is Phillips taking over for Merrilee Fullerton in June 2021, mere weeks after a scathing military report detailed “horrifying” conditions in the five LTC home they were brought into assist.

Liberal leader Steven Del Duca agreed. “The departure of Doug Ford’s Long-Term Care Minister while more than half of Ontario’s nursing homes have COVID outbreaks is a total abdication of leadership and a sign of pure chaos in Ford’s Conservative Party.”

“Doug Ford’s incompetence has turned a health crisis into a crisis of leadership,” he continued. “Over the past few months, Ontarians have felt abandoned by Doug Ford and his Government, and Minister Phillips’s abrupt departure is just another example of that.”

“Families with loved ones in long-term care feel like they’ve never been this government’s priority,” Singh added. “They need immediate assurances that their loved ones will get the care and protections they need, including access to boosters and fourth doses.”

Premier Doug Ford said the Fixing Long-Term Care Act, which invests $6.4 billion in to LTC homes – many of them privately run for-profit businesses – in effort to create 30,000 beds will have a “lasting impact” on long-term care and he wished Phillips and his wife Lydia “the very best” in their next chapter. “Rod built on our governments work to dramatically build much-needed long term care homes.

The opposition stressed the need for a quick replacement on the LTC portfolio. “Omicron won’t wait for Doug Ford to get his house in order,” Singh warned.

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