St. Paul’s MPP resigns from Queen’s Park seat

Eric Hoskins to chair new federal pharmacare committee

WINNING DAYS: Eric Hoskins celebrates after the 2014 provincial election. Hoskins kept his seat in the riding of St. Paul’s and saw another majority Liberal government.

The doctor is hanging up his political stethoscope in St. Paul’s.

MPP Eric Hoskins announced his resignation from his seat, as well as the Minister of Health and Long-Term Care position, on Feb. 26. A day later he was appointed the chair of the Advisory Council on the Implementation of National Pharmacare by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.

In a statement, Hoskins described serving the “diverse and vibrant community” of St. Paul’s as a profound privilege. He went on to thank Premier Kathleen Wynne for the roles she entrusted to him.

“I am proud to have been part of her Cabinet, government and the Liberal caucus,” he added. “I am confident that Premier Wynne and her team will keep building a healthy, fair and prosperous Ontario.

“In leaving Queen’s Park, I am determined to continue building better healthcare for all Canadians.”

He thanked his colleagues, staff and “most especially” his partner Dr. Samantha Nutt.

The decision to leave provincial politics came as a surprise to the constituency office, as they found out at 4 p.m. the day of the resignation, according to a staff member.

Also surprised was Ward 22 councillor Josh Matlow, who described his working relationship with Hoskins as a very friendly.

“We saw eye-to-eye on so many issues that were important to our community and our province,” he said, the day of the announcement. “I always enjoyed talking to him about priorities.”

Earlier in the day, Matlow had posted on social media that he was grateful to Hoskins for all his years of service to the St. Paul’s community.

“I’m really excited for him with respect to what he’s about to take on,” Matlow added. “I can’t think of a better person to champion a national pharmacare program.”

At the federal level, Dr. Carolyn Bennett told the Streeter via a statement that she and the riding will miss him. But he will still be working for them.

“His leadership on pharmacare in Ontario make him an inspiring choice to lead the Advisory Council on the Implementation of National Pharmacare,” she said. “His mandate is to evaluate and recommend options for the path forward on pharmacare that puts Canadians first.”

St. Paul’s was not Hoskins’ first foray into provincial politics. He ran for a seat in Haldimand-Norfolk during the 2008 election, losing to Progressive Conservative incumbent Diane Finley. The following year, the resignation of Michael Bryant left the door open for Hoskins. He was chosen over Judith Moses and Charles Finlay to enter the byelection to succeed the former Attorney General.

Hoskins was elected in an August 2009 byelection where he squared off with Toronto Sun columnist Sue-Ann Levy representing the Progressive Conservative Party and Julian Heller of the New Democratic Party.

He was a cabinet minister in both the McGuinty and Wynne governments, helming the Ministry of Citizenship and Immigration, Children and Youth Services, Economic Development, Trade and Employment before taking the portfolio of Health and Long-Term Care. Helena Jaczek has been named Hoskins’ successor.

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