The team of Candidates that Doug Ford takes into the June Election will look quite a bit different from the one that ran in 2018 Fully one-quarter, or 19 members of the current Ford caucus are not running in the June election. Twelve are not seeking re-election and seven have either been kicked out of caucus, resigned from caucus or in one case, crossed the floor to the Liberals. But even of the 12 who are not seeking re-election there have been issues that may suggest there was tension with the government. Rod Phillips had been removed from cabinet for taking an unauthorized holiday during COVID, and when he was returned to cabinet it was in the thankless portfolio of Long Term Care. Jeff Yurek from Elgin-Middlesex-London announced he was not running again after being dumped altogether rom Cabinet. It was suggested some of the rural MPP like Yurek were offside with Ford on COVID lockdowns. Gila Martow of Thornhill, an optometrist, is not running again after disagreeing with the Ford Government over its failure to come to an agreement with the provinces’ optometrists. Lindsey Park, the MPP from Durham resigned from caucus after she was accused of fudging her vaccination status. Amy Fee from Kitchener, who has two autistic children, disagreed with the government over autism spending, and after a domestic breakdown announced she would not run again.
Those who were removed from caucus include Belinda Karahalios of Cambridge, who was elected to office as a Progressive Conservative candidate but was kicked out of the party in July 2020 after voting against a government bill that grants it powers to extend or amend some emergency orders a month at a time, for up to two years.
Amanda Simard Glengarry-Prescott-Russell made headlines when she left the Tory caucus in 2018 following the government’s decision to scrap the independent office of the French-language services commissioner and a planned francophone university. Since then, she has been critical of the Ford government.
Roman Baber Roman Baber: York Centre was booted from caucus last year for speaking out against COVID-19 lockdowns. He is now considering a run for the federal Conservative leadership.
Veteran MPP Jim Wilson, and former Energy and Health Minister was removed from caucus after allegations of sexual harassment. Wilson acknowledged he was seeking treatment for an alcohol problem and is not running again.
Rick Nicholls Chatham Kent Leamington is running, but will be flying the Ontario Party banner. The former deputy speaker of the Ontario legislature was kicked out of the Conservative caucus last August by Premier Doug Ford after he refused to take the COVID-19 vaccine.
And then of course there was maverick MPP Randy Hillier who was removed from the Conservative caucus over his steadfast opposition to vaccine mandates which led to his arrest at one point.
Veteran MPPS Jim McDonnell Stormont-Dundas South Glengarry, Norm Miller Parry Sound – Muskoka, Randy Pettapiece of Perth Wellington, Bill Walker of Bruce-Grey-Owen Sound all appear to be leaving on good terms as apparently is Health Minister Christine Elliott who helmed her ministry through two years of COVID. Burlington MPP Jane McKenna has announced her retirement in order to run for Halton Regional Chair.