Ontario Economic Development and Trade Minister Jim Wilson has resigned from his post and the Progressive Conservative caucus to seek treatment for addiction issues, the Premier’s Office says.
The announcement was made in a statement issued late on Friday.
“The Honourable Jim Wilson has resigned as Minister of Economic Development, Job Creation and Trade, effective immediately,” Premier’s Office spokesman Simon Jefferies said in a statement.
PC House Leader Todd Smith, who also serves as Minister of Government and Consumer Services, will take over the role in the interim, Mr. Jefferies said.
The move was abrupt. The veteran MPP had attended an event with Ontario Premier Doug Ford on Friday morning in Sarnia, Ont., at the unveiling of the government’s new Open for Business highway signs. According to social-media posts, he then spent much of the day with the Premier.
Mr. Wilson, 55, was first elected to the riding of Simcoe-Grey in 1990.
He served as Mr. Ford’s point man on Canada-U.S. relations, travelling with the Premier to Washington during recent trade talks.
Mr. Wilson was one of only two members of the Ford government with prior experience in provincial cabinet.
When Mike Harris’s Progressive Conservatives swept to office in 1995, Mr. Wilson was appointed minister of health and later became the energy, science and technology minister. He then served under former premier Ernie Eves in various portfolios, including briefly in environment.
Editor’s note: A previous version of this article incorrectly said Jim Wilson was the only member of the Ford government with prior experience in provincial cabinet. In fact, Agriculture Minister Ernie Hardeman also served in Mike Harris’s cabinet.