TORONTO—Ontario Progressive Conservative leader Doug Ford was sworn in as Ontario’s 26th premier with a much smaller cabinet than his Liberal predecessor. The new cabinet, which also clipped out most of the new-age style labels that were favoured by the previous government, consists of 20 ministries, down from 28.
“I will never forget why I’m here: to work for the people of Ontario,” said Premier Ford in a news release announcing his government as the “First ever government of the people.” He went on to add that “I promised the people that I would help make our great province the best place in North America when it comes to business, creating jobs and raising a family and I am going to keep my promise.”
“My feelings are that we are very well represented in the North,” said Jib Turner, who ran for the Progressive Conservatives in the recent provincial election. “This is the first time since Floyd Laughren that we have a finance minister from Northern Ontario (North Bay MPP Vic Fedeli).”
Mr. Turner described the Ford Team as “very capable, well versed in the municipal side as well.”
As for Greg Rickford, the new Minister of Energy, Northern Development and Mines, as well as separately designated as Minister of Indigenous Affairs, “he has taken on a very big role,” said Mr. Turner. “It is very important that we have someone of that calibre working for us in the North. His parliamentary secretary is Ross Romano. We are quite well served up here. As for the rest of cabinet, it is strong group of individuals. I am pleased with the choices Doug made.”
The rest of that cabinet includes Peter Bethlenfalvy, President of the Treasury Board; Raymond Cho, Minister for Seniors and Accessibility; Steve Clark, Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing; former leadership rival Christine Elliott, Minister of Health and Long-Term Care and Deputy Premier; Victor Fedeli, Minister of Finance and Chair of Cabinet; Doug Ford himself as Premier and Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs; Merrilee Fullerton, Minister of Training, Colleges and Universities; Ernie Hardeman, Minister of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs; Sylvia Jones, Minister of Tourism, Culture and Sport; Lisa MacLeod, Minister of Children, Community and Social Services and Minister Responsible for Women’s Issues; Monte McNaughton, Minister of Infrastructure; Caroline Mulroney, Attorney General and Minister Responsible for Francophone Affairs; Rod Phillips, Minister of the Environment, Conservation and Parks; Laurie Scott, Minister of Labour; Todd Smith, Minister of Government and Consumer Services and Government House Leader; Lisa Thompson, Minister of Education; Michael Tibollo, Minister of Community Safety and Correctional Services; Jim Wilson, Minister of Economic Development, Job Creation and Trade; John Yakabuski, Minister of Transportation; and Jeff Yurek, Minister of Natural Resources and Forestry.
The downgrading of the Ministry of Indigenous Affairs was met with some disappointment by First Nations leaders, but the choice of minister received a more positive response.
“I am disappointed that there is no longer a Minister of Indigenous Relations and Reconciliation,” said newly elected AFN Regional Chief of Ontario RoseAnne Archibald in a written statement released Friday. “However, I am heartened by the fact that Greg Rickford will include the portfolio in his other responsibilities.”
Minister Rickford was a federal Conservative MP for seven years, including a stint as the federal Minister of Natural Resources. A former nurse who worked in remote Northern communities, and a lawyer with an MBA from Université Laval, Chief Archibald said he was “by far the best choice to work with our peoples and has important knowledge gleaned from years of personal experience.”