POLITICS
11/07/2018 13:44 EST | Updated 11/07/2018 13:44 EST

Doug Ford Denies Covering Up Sexual Misconduct Claims Against Key Allies

Minister Jim Wilson and staffer Andrew Kimber abruptly left their posts.

Ontario Premier Doug Ford speaks at an announcement in Trenton, Ont. on Nov. 7, 2018.
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Ontario Premier Doug Ford speaks at an announcement in Trenton, Ont. on Nov. 7, 2018.

Ontario Premier Doug Ford says his office kept allegations of sexual misconduct against one of his ministers away from the media to protect the identity of the complainant.

On Friday, Ford's office said Jim Wilson was resigning his position as minister of economic development, job creation and trade, and leaving the Progressive Conservative caucus to seek treatment for addiction.

Global News reported Monday that Wilson had actually been accused of sexual misconduct and was forced to step down.

Another key member of Ford's inner circle, high-ranking staffer Andrew Kimber, also resigned after being accused of inappropriate sexual behaviour, Global News reported.

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Minister Jim Wilson and staffer Andrew Kimber, who worked in Premier Doug Ford's office, both resigned abruptly after being accused of sexual misconduct.

"They're done. They're gone. See you later," the premier told reporters after an announcement in Trenton, Ont. Wednesday. "I have zero tolerance for this, as I demonstrated on Friday."

It was the first time the premier addressed the accusations. MPPs are away from Queen's Park this week so he hasn't had to face the Opposition during question period.

Minister Lisa MacLeod confirmed on Monday that a third party was investigating allegations about Wilson and Kimber.

Ford declined to name the third party or commit to releasing the results of the investigations. His office didn't tell journalists the full story initially because the alleged victims asked for privacy, Ford told reporters Wednesday.

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"When we sat down with the person that gave the allegations, they repeatedly asked us not to make this a media story," the premier said of Wilson's accuser.

"The media are pretty smart people. And that's Doug Ford saying that. It would take about three seconds to figure out who this person is ... The people of our team trump the media any day, everyday."

He said it is true that Wilson is seeking treatment for an addiction.

Opposition MPPs had accused Ford's government of a coverup.

"Mr. Ford didn't tell Ontarians the truth about the departure of his most senior minister, and that's wrong," NDP deputy leader Sara Singh said in a statement.

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