Premier Doug Ford accepts resignation of his chief of staff
Katherine DeClerq, CP24.com
Published Friday, June 21, 2019 7:33PM EDT
Last Updated Friday, June 21, 2019 10:35PM EDT
Ontario Premier Doug Ford's chief of staff has resigned from his position.
According to a news release issued Friday evening, Dean French will be returning to the private sector “as he had always planned.”
The resignation comes on the same day that Ford revoked the appointments of two people to foreign posts after reports that they had close ties to French. It also comes one day after a major cabinet shuffle at Queen’s Park that saw numerous high-profile ministers moved to different portfolios.
Caucus sources told CTV News Toronto that there is a “wave of relief” amid French’s departure and that his resignation is indicative of a “true reset.”
The Premier’s chief of staff has been the centre of a number of conflicts that have impacted the Progressive Conservative Party’s popularity at Queen’s Park.
French is suing a former PC caucus member for defamation, alleging that MPP Randy Hillier tried to “destroy” his reputation after he was forced out of the party.
French is seeking $100,000 in damages, which he said he would donate to Big Brothers and Big Sisters of Lanark County in Hillier's riding. Hillier denies the allegations.
NDP MPP Marit Stiles released a statement on behalf of the Official Opposition after French’s resignation, saying “the buck stops with Doug Ford.”
As long as he’s plowing ahead with his callous cuts for families, backroom deals for friends, and relentless bullying of anyone who disagrees with him, changing back room staff won’t help the people of Ontario who are hurting under the Ford regime.”
In a statement, Ford thanked his chief of staff for his leadership and friendship.
"He is leaving our government in a very strong position from where we can build upon our successes and continue delivering on our priorities for the people of Ontario," Ford said in a statement.
"Dean's legacy will be that of leading a historic and successful election campaign last year, as well as the incredible successes we have had in our government's first year. On behalf of the Government of Ontario, I wish Dean the very best in his future.”
The premier’s deputy chief of staff, Jamie Wallice, will assume the position of interim-chief of staff effective immediately.
With files from Canadian Press