Global News has learned from multiple sources that two senior members of Premier Doug Ford’s inner circle were forced to resign Friday due to allegations of sexually inappropriate behaviour.
Jim Wilson resigned from his position as Minister of Economic Development and Trade, as well as from the PC caucus after he was confronted with the allegations.
The allegations, involving sexual misconduct, were made by a male Queen’s Park staffer and the premier’s office became aware of the claim late Friday afternoon.
Just after 6 p.m., a member of Premier Ford’s communications team issued the following statement: “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.”
The short statement made no mention of the allegations against Wilson.
Wilson will remain as the MPP for the riding of Simcoe—Grey, sitting as an independent. Jim Wilson has been a member of provincial parliament since 1990 and had served in the cabinets of former premiers Mike Harris and Ernie Eves. He was also chosen by the PC party to serve as interim leader following the 2014 resignation of former leader Tim Hudak.
When asked for comment by Global News on Monday, the premier’s office responded after the story was published, but did not confirm or deny any allegation of misconduct and repeated the addiction issue as the reason for Wilson’s resignation.
“Jim Wilson is no longer a Minister of the Government, nor is he a member of the PC Caucus. He has entered a treatment facility to deal with addiction issues,” the statement said.
Global News reached out to Wilson for comment and has not received a reply.
WATCH: Global News’ political panel discusses misconduct allegations
Global News also learned from multiple sources that Andrew Kimber, Ford’s executive director of issues management and legislative affairs, resigned Friday after being confronted about multiple sexually inappropriate text messages he allegedly sent to a female staffer at Queen’s Park.
The premier’s office did confirm Kimber’s resignation but would not go into further detail.
“As a matter of policy, we don’t comment on specific details of internal staffing matters. Generally speaking, if allegations are brought forward to senior staff of the Government or the PC Caucus, a process is activated immediately and we provide staff with support and reassurance of their right to work in an environment that is free of harassment,” the statement said.
“To protect the identity of any individual who brings forward an allegation, we would not comment on particulars.”
Kimber had been a trusted adviser to the premier since he was sworn in this summer.