McGuinty's new cabinet reveals fresh faces
Ontario Premier Dalton McGuinty was officially sworn to duty on Tuesday afternoon along with a fresh cabinet of new faces.
Windsor MPP Energy Minister Dwight Duncan was named finance minister, replacing Greg Sorbara. Sorbara, who represents Vaughan, surprised the Liberal caucus on Friday by announcing his resignation from cabinet to spend more time with his family.
Toronto MPP Michael Bryant has been reassigned to the province's aboriginal affairs portfolio and will also take on the role as Government House Speaker.
London West MPP Chris Bentley, who served as minister of colleges and universities, will take over Bryant's job.
Education Minister Kathleen Wynne kept her high-ranking portfolio, as did Health Minister George Smitherman. Wynne was also named cabinet chair.
Infrastructure Minister David Caplan, who is also responsible for the Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corp., also stayed put.
Sandra Pupatello was sworn in as economic development and trade minister, while John Gerretsen will handle the environment portfolio.
Donna Cansfield moved from transportation to natural resources, Michael Chan became citizenship and immigration minister, Rick Bartolucci takes over community safety and correctional services, and Harinder Takhar remains small business minister.
McGuinty himself has taken over the Ministry of Intergovernmental Affairs, which puts him in charge of convincing the federal government for more funding for the province.
Several veterans had to give up their jobs to make room for the newcomers: Natural Resources Minister David Ramsay, Environment Minister Laurel Broten, Labour Minister Steve Peters and Public Safety Minister Monte Kwinter.The premier insisted they had done nothing wrong.
Ten new faces
McGuinty added 10 new members to cabinet, including two newly elected MPPs.
Aileen Carroll, who was a Liberal MP before switching over to provincial politics, was appointed culture minister.
Scarborough's Margarett Best will be minister of health promotion.
Other notable newcomers include:
- Deb Matthews, minister of children and youth services
- Ted McMeekin, minister of government services
- John Milloy, minister of training, colleges and universities
- Brad Duguid, minister of labour
- Michael Gravelle, minister of northern development and mines
- Peter Fonseca, minister of tourism
- Monique Smith, minister of revenue
- John Wilkinson, minister of research and innovation
After the ceremony at Queen's Park, McGuinty said his party was ready to proceed with an "activist agenda."
"We've got a significant influx of people who have never sat at the table, and they in turn will energize us, invigorate us, keep us vital and active and committed and enthusiastic,'' he said.
David Docherty, dean of arts at Sir Wilfrid Laurier University in Waterloo, warned that promoting so many rookies to cabinet could backfire on McGuinty.
"It's always dangerous putting new folks into cabinet if they haven't spent any time there, even if they have federal experience; the culture of Queen's Park is very different,'' Docherty told The Canadian Press. "For those (new) individuals, the learning curve is really a lot steeper.''
An official with Equal Voice, an organization that lobbies for an increased number of women in politics, said she is disappointed with McGuinty's picks.
Rosemary Speirs told CP the premier should have followed the example of Quebec Premier Jean Charest who made half of his cabinet women.
McGuinty told reporters he was proud of the number of women in the Liberal caucus.
"I was very pleased (during the election) we got 11 new MPPs and I think eight of those were women," he said. "That's a very, very strong showing and I'm very, very proud of that."
Conservative Leader John Tory lashed out at McGuinty's decision to put Duncan in finance and Pupatello in economic development.
"What we have hear is potentially a disaster in the making for the Ontario economy,'' Tory said.
"We're having the same two people that have been in charge of the Windsor economy, as it has been in peril and in decline over the last couple of years, now being placed in charge of the entire Ontario economy.''
NDP Leader Howard Hampton called Tuesday's move "a cosmetic cabinet shuffle,'' and said McGuinty owes poor people a lot more than some new faces in his administration.
"A post-election cabinet shuffle is a lot like the NHL pre-season,'' Hampton said. "The roster moves are all very interesting, but the true measure of success is whether your team gets the job done when it counts. That's where the McGuinty government underachieved in its first term."
With a report from CTV's Paul Bliss and files from The Canadian Press