UPDATED: McNaughton leaving politics

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Monte McNaughton speaks to supporters on election night June 2, 2022 in Mt. Brydges

‘I’m making this decision because it’s the right one for me and my family’

Lambton-Kent-Middlesex MPP Monte McNaughton is leaving politics.

“Minister McNaughton has informed me that he’s stepping away from public life to take on an exciting opportunity in the private sector. He made this decision based on what is best for him and his family at this point in his life and career,” said Premier Doug Ford in a statement this morning.

McNaughton released a statement moments ago; “It has been the honour of a lifetime to serve the people of Ontario as Minister of Labour, Immigration, Training and Skills Development for more than four years,” he wrote in a statement released on Twitter.

“I want to express my deepest gratitude to the people of Lambton-Kent Middlesex. It has been a privilege to have represented you since 2011.”

As labour minister, McNaughton worked doggedly to promote the skilled trades sector.

McNaughton was able to forge relationships in the labour community and during the 2022 election several labour unions endorsed the PCs – a first in provincial politics.

Even before his statement, McNaughton’s departure sparked speculation. The Ford government is embroiled in controversy surrounding the development of the Greenbelt. Two cabinet members and two staffers have already resigned. The premier reversed his decision to allow housing in the area yesterday.

“I realize that recent events will cause some to speculate about the reasons for my departure. I want those people to know that my decision is completely unrelated to those events,” wrote McNaughton.

“I support Premier Ford and am proud to have served in his cabinet. I am forever grateful for the opportunities he’s given me to contribute to this amazing province. I believe strongly in his team and its vision. I know they will continue to do great things for the people of this province. I’m making this decision because it’s the right one for me and my family.”

Ford expressed his thanks in a prepared statement: “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,” said the statement from the Premier.

“In the last two years alone, he introduced three separate pieces of legislation focused solely on working for workers. Monte helped build a coalition of private-sector union support that has never existed in the history of the Ontario PC Party. He introduced ground-breaking measures to protect workers’ rights and ensure that more workers are in the driver’s seat of their own careers,” said Ford’s statement.

“Monte has been instrumental in our government’s plan to put workers at the centre of Ontario’s economy and unprecedented growth.

“Thank you, Kate and Annie, for sharing your husband and dad with our Ontario PC team and our province for as long as you have. I wish you all nothing but the very best in this next chapter of your life.”

McNaughton’s social media feeds are normally a diary of his travels across the province promoting the skilled trades; but they have been silent for a couple of weeks last posting about attending a Taylor Swift concert Sept. 9.

He has not yet released where he will be working. But he did mention the sacrifices his family has made for the work he did in politics.

“I’d like to thank the two loves of my life, my wife, Kate, and daughter, Annie, for supporting me through thick and thin. My family has made many sacrifices including hundreds of trips down Highway 401 to split their time between our riding and Toronto so that we could spend as much time together as possible.”