Home Care Ontario | Jan 18, 2018
Premier Wynne announced a small Cabinet shuffle this afternoon, less than five months ahead of the next provincial election (June 7). The announced changes to her Cabinet make it notably younger, more gender balanced, and welcomes new members from key electoral ridings such as Brampton, and Kitchener.
The shuffle was necessitated by veteran Liberal ministers announcing that they are not running again in the next election. This provided the government an opportunity to promote well-performing Cabinet Ministers and give new MPPs an opportunity to raise their profiles in key battleground ridings they must win ahead of the campaign.
The Premier said the changes are to ensure her Cabinet reflects both the diversity and the geography of our province. The new Cabinet is approaching gender parity, a key priority for the Premier, with it now comprising 44% women (now standing at 13 women, including the Premier, and 16 men).
Today’s shuffle is an attempt to start fresh. With the retirement of several of the old Liberal guard, like stalwarts Deb Matthews, Liz Sandals, and Brad Duguid, and the elevation of a bevy of fresh new faces, Wynne will use the Cabinet shuffle to attempt to control the Queen’s Park political agenda, and use the remaining months to promote the government’s key campaign commitments, such as child care, OSAP enhancements etc. to build a positive narrative that underscores why the government should be re-elected.
That narrative will be heavily focused around ‘fairness’ and ensuring that "everyone gets their fair share". The changes to help achieve this goal are:
- Mitzie Hunter moves from Education to Minister of Advanced Education and Skills Development, where she will be responsible for promoting one of the government’s biggest key policy areas.
- Indira Naidoo-Harris moves from Status of Women to Minister of Education and retains her post in charge of Early Childhood Education.
- Eleanor McMahon replaces Liz Sandals as President of Treasury Board, and will oversee the government’s program spending objectives.
- Steven Del Duca moves over from Transportation to replace Brad Duguid as Minister of Economic Development and Growth, a key portfolio given Ontario’s strong economic record.
- Kathryn McGarry becomes the new Minister of Transportation, which will oversee the province’s $10 billion in infrastructure projects, being replaced at Natural Resources and Forestry by Nathalie Des Rosiers from Ottawa.
- Harinder Malhi from Brampton Springdale will become the new Minister for the Status of Women, a key portfolio under the Wynne government.
- Daiene Vernille from Kitchener takes over as Minister of Tourism, Culture and Sport.
For those who will be interacting with these Ministries, you can expect that key staff will likely remain in place in an attempt to minimize disruption with these minister’s previous government and non-government experience resulting in a smooth transition with files continuing to move forward. All eyes will now be focused on the upcoming spring Budget which will lay out the Liberal’s plans for the future.
A list of the changes can be found here:https://news.ontario.ca/opo/en/2018/01/women-promoted-to-cabinet-in-key-government-roles.html