Canada

Deputy premier Christine Elliott will not seek re-election, sources say

Premier Doug Ford is about to lose another key member of his cabinet as Ontario’s spring election approaches.

Health minister and deputy premier Christine Elliott will not run for the Progressive Conservatives in the June 2 election, sources said Thursday night.

Elliott, 66 and a lawyer by training, has been in charge of the high-profile health portfolio throughout the pandemic, a role that attracted anti-restrictions protesters to her home at times.

“After two-plus years of COVID she deserves to have her life back,” one source told the Star after CBC first reported her pending departure.

Neither Elliott nor government officials replied to requests for comment.

Elliott ran three times for the Progressive Conservative leadership, losing close contests to Patrick Brown in 2015 and Doug Ford in 2018 following Brown’s sudden resignation. She also ran in 2009 against Tim Hudak.

The veteran MPP took three years off from electoral politics after her 2015 leadership defeat and served as Ontario’s first patient ombudsman, a $220,000-a-year role to which she was appointed by former Liberal premier Kathleen Wynne. Elliott had been her party’s outspoken health critic.

She took a pay cut when she quit the job, unsuccessfully sought the leadership and subsequently won re-election to the legislature in Newmarket-Aurora four years ago.

Elliott is the second high-profile minister to quit Ford’s cabinet this year. Businessman and former finance and environment minister Rod Phillips resigned the long-term care portfolio last month to return to private life.

Several of Ford’s MPPs have also announced they will not run in the June election.

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