London

In surprise move, Phil Squire steps down from London city council

In a surprise announcement, Ward 6 Coun. Phil Squire said Tuesday he will resign his seat on London city council to accept an appointment to Ontario's Consent and Capacity Board, effective immediately. 

Ward 6 councillor has accepted an appointment to Ontario's Consent and Capacity Board

Ward 6 Coun. Phil Squire is stepping down from London city council effective immediately. (Liny Lamberink/CBC)

In a surprise announcement, Ward 6 Coun. Phil Squire said Tuesday he will resign his seat on London city council to accept an appointment to Ontario's Consent and Capacity Board.

The resignation is effective immediately. 

The Consent and Capacity Board is a quasi-judicial tribunal that operates at arm's length from the provincial Health Ministry and makes rulings on issues regarding access to health care.

Squire said he accepted the appointment on Friday and waited until Tuesday to make the announcement. He said the new appointment will allow him to pursue his passion: Helping people with mental health issues. 

"As of now, I cease to be a member of council and cease all activities as a member of council," Squire told the corporate services committee, surprising his fellow councillors. "It's a difficult choice, but it's a choice that makes sense for me. I'm extremely honoured to be assuming this position." 

Squire's departure leaves 2 council vacancies

The appointment happened late last week and he signed the paperwork Tuesday morning, Squire said. The new position makes him ineligible to continue sitting as a city councillor, so he had to step down effective immediately. 

Squire announced his resignation just as the committee was set to discuss how to fill the Ward 13 vacancy created when Arielle Kayabaga was elected MP for London West in September's federal election. With Squire gone, there are two council vacancies ahead of the next election, in October next year.

Squire's resignation caught councillors by surprise.

Ward 5 Coun. Maureen Cassidy said she was "flabbergasted" at the news. 

Squire, a lawyer, was first elected to council in 2014 and was re-elected in 2018.

After making his announcement, he left the meeting, and left councillors trying to figure out what to do with both Squire's Ward 6 seat vacancy as well as Kayabaga's vacant seat.

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