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MPP Jim Wilson resigns cabinet post to seek treatment for 'addiction issues'

Last Updated Nov 2, 2018 at 8:30 pm EDT

Jim Wilson, former minister of economic development, is seen as the legislature sits inside Queens Park in Toronto on Sept. 15, 2018. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Cole Burston

Ontario Progressive Conservative legislator Jim Wilson has resigned from cabinet and the Tory caucus “to seek treatment for addiction issues.”

Wilson’s resignation from his post as minister of economic development, job creation and trade is effective immediately, Simon Jefferies said in a brief statement.

Government House Leader Todd Smith will take over Wilson’s portfolio “on an interim basis,” Jefferies added.

Just hours before his resignation was announced, Wilson, 55, appeared alongside Premier Ford on Friday at a border crossing near Sarnia, Ont. as the government unveiled its new “Open for Business” signs.

First elected in 1990, Wilson represents the riding of Simcoe-Grey on Georgian Bay. When the Progressive Conservatives swept to power under Mike Harris in 1995, Wilson was appointed minister of health and later became the energy, science and technology minister. He also served under then-premier Ernie Eves in various portfolios, including briefly in environment. He was elected interim party leader in July 2014 following Tim Hudak’s resignation, a role he held until Patrick Brown took over as leader the following May.

“Jim Wilson has been my friend for 13 years and was my seatmate for many years. I hope he gets the help and peace he deserves,” Social Services Minister Lisa MacLeod wrote on Twitter.

“I thank him for 30 years of service and for being our interim leader in the last parliament.”

Wilson’s office did not immediately respond to requests for comment Friday evening.