Ontario Labour Minister McNaughton Resigns From Ford's Cabinet

Ontario Labour Minister McNaughton Resigns From Ford's Cabinet
Ontario Labour Minister Monte McNaughton takes to the podium during a news conference in Toronto on April 28, 2021. (The Canadian Press/Chris Young)
Isaac Teo

Ontario Labour Minister Monte McNaughton is stepping away from politics at a time when the Ford government continues to grapple with fallout from the Greenbelt development scandal.

In a statement on Sept. 22, the former minister said his departure was “completely unrelated" to the Greenbelt issue. Mr. McNaughton is the third minister to resign from Premier Doug Ford's cabinet this month.

McNaughton said it had been the “honour of a lifetime” to be labour minister, but the time was right to leave.

“It is always difficult to know the right time to leave politics,” he wrote. “After much soul searching over the summer months, I have accepted a job in the private sector.”

His resignation comes a day after Premier Doug Ford pledged to return protected Greenbelt lands his government had selected to be removed in order to build housing.

In a statement earlier on Sept. 22, Mr. Ford thanked Mr. McNaughton for his work in the caucus. The former minister has been the provincial representative for Lambton-Kent-Middlesex in southwestern Ontario since 2011.

“He made this decision based on what is best for him and his family at this point in his life and career,” Mr. Ford wrote.

“I’m very grateful for Monte’s work as a key member of our team, both as minister of infrastructure and, more recently, minister of labour, immigration, training, and skills development.”

'Reversing the Changes'

Mr. McNaughton’s departure marks the third minister to resign from the Progressive Conservative caucus this month.
This means that the premier now has two cabinet roles to fill after MPP Kaleed Rasheed resigned from his post as minister of public and business service delivery on Sept. 20.

Mr. Rahseed quit the cabinet and caucus after his office admitted the MPP provided incorrect information to the province’s integrity commissioner about a 2020 trip to Las Vegas.

Mr. Rahseed had told the commissioner that he and two staffers encountered prominent developer Shakir Rehmatullah there but were on separate trips. CTV later reported that they booked massages for the same time.

On Sept. 4, MPP Steve Clare resigned from his role as housing minister. Mr. Clark’s move came days after a scathing report from the integrity commissioner, who found he violated ethics rules for the way the government opened up parts of the protected Greenbelt to development.
At a press conference on Sept. 21, Mr. Ford said he would reverse his plan to open the protected Greenbelt lands for housing development and won't make any changes to the Greenbelt in the future.

"It was a mistake to open the Greenbelt. It was a mistake to establish a process that moved too fast. This process, it left too much room for some people to benefit over others. It caused people to question our motives," he said. "As a first step to earn back your trust, I’ll be reversing the changes we made and won’t make any changes to the Greenbelt in the future."

The Canadian Press contributed to this report.