Premier Doug Ford and his Cabinet were sworn in today in a public ceremony on the front steps of the Legislative Building at Queen’s Park. The Premier has assembled a 21-member Cabinet — down seven from the previous government — and has combined several ministries in order to streamline government. The Premier has turned to several veterans in choosing his Cabinet while adding some newcomers in the mix. More than a third of Cabinet represents GTA seats, reflecting the success realized by the Conservatives in the election, and there are seven women seated at the Cabinet table. Premier Ford will also serve as Intergovernmental Affairs Minister, signaling his intent to lead Ontario on the all-important trade file from the very top. 26 Parliamentary Assistants were also named today.
Among the veterans named to Cabinet:
- Vic Fedeli serves as Finance Minister, charged with determining the province’s financial state, finding $6 billion in savings and carving out the path to balanced budgets
- Christine Elliott is named Minister of Health and Long-Term Care and Deputy Premier, with reaching a deal with the province’s doctors an immediate priority
- Lisa MacLeod leads a combined portfolio as Minister of Children, Community and Social Services, and has responsibility for Women’s Issues
- Jim Wilson is the Minister of Economic Development, Job Creation, and Trade, combining the trade portfolio with the ministry charged with determining the blueprint for economic growth in Ontario
- Lisa Thompson is the new Education Minister, with revamping the province’s sex-ed curriculum at the top of her priorities along with forging a new relationship with the province’s elementary and secondary school teachers
- Monte McNaughton is the new Infrastructure Minister and John Yakabuski will serve as Transportation Minister — together they will be front and centre in delivering on the Premier’s pledge to build infrastructure
- Sylvia Jones is the new Minister of Tourism, Culture, and Sport
- Greg Rickford — a former federal Minister under Stephen Harper — will serve another large combined portfolio as Minister of Energy, Northern Development, and Mines, and Minister of Indigenous Affairs, with addressing the thorny issues surrounding the hydro file in Ontario at the top of his list
Newcomers include Peter Bethlenfalvy who as President of the Treasury Board will play an integral role in controlling the government’s finances and ensuring spending cuts are achieved, and Caroline Mulroney, who is the new Attorney General and Minister Responsible for Francophone Affairs and will have the fight against a federal carbon tax at the top of her list. Rod Phillips takes on the role of Minister of the Environment, Conservation and Parks, with ensuring the end of the cap and trade alliance being his first priority. Merilee Fullerton takes on the role of Minister of Training, Colleges and Universities, initially focused on ending the strike at York University, while Michael Tibollo is the new Minister of Community Safety and Correctional Services.
Wasting no time at all, Premier Ford is getting right down to work, meeting with his new Cabinet this afternoon. The Legislature will be recalled on July 9th for a short summer session aimed at addressing the York University strike and the cap and trade/carbon tax file.
Expect a disciplined approach to be at the heart of how this new Cabinet works together. We saw this at play in the election — during which Premier Ford stuck closely to his platform’s five main priorities — and we saw it with a transition team that has been working hard over the last three weeks to set the stage for this new government, without leaks or speculation about what was happening. That same discipline will be on display in appointing chiefs of staff to the new ministers. The Premier has put a strong team in place and will turn to the veterans on the team to get a quick start and help keep his government on course in achieving results in those five key areas.