Fedeli, MacLeod, Thompson, demoted in Doug Ford cabinet shuffle
Antonella Artuso
June 20, 2019
June 20, 2019 8:50 PM EDT
Premier Doug Ford rebuilt his cabinet almost from the ground up, shuffling ministers in and out of key positions and adding seven new faces.
Ford said the reset signals the government is leaving a first year of tough but necessary decision-making and moving into a new phase.
“Every one of our cabinet ministers I think has done a good job but we can always do a better job. I can always do a better job as well and we’re going to,” Ford said Thursday. “Could we have done a couple of things better? Absolutely, and I’ll say that over and over again.”
As disclosed by the Toronto Sun’s Brian Lilley on Wednesday, Vic Fedeli was shuffled out of the high-profile position of finance minister and replaced by former environment minister Rod Phillips.
Ford insisted that Fedeli’s move was not a demotion for the critical fallout from cuts in the government’s spring budget, but rather a lateral move to economic development minister and chair of cabinet.
“There’s no better sales person on our team than Vic Fedeli,” Ford said.
Two other cabinets ministers who have been in the hot seat — Lisa MacLeod who guided the autism services file as minister of children, community and social services, and Lisa Thompson who took on sex ed and larger class sizes as the minister of education — found themselves moved to less heated positions.
Stepping into the difficult portfolios are new Education Minister Stephen Lecce and new Children, Community and Social Services Minister Todd Smith.
Caroline Mulroney, formerly the attorney general, was sworn in as the transportation minister with a new associate minister of transportation for the GTA, Kinga Surma.
Doug Downey is the new Ontario attorney general.
People staying in their cabinet portfolios include Treasury Board President Peter Bethlenfalvy, Health Minister Christine Elliott and Municipal Affairs and Housing Minister Steve Clark.
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Asked what he and the new cabinet might do better, Ford said they need to communicate the message better.
The government is under attack from well-financed unions and others with a “sense of entitlement” to taxpayers’ money, and the media also focuses more on bad news than government successes, he said.
Toronto Mayor John Tory said he knows the new senior ministers and hopes to work collaboratively with them.
“So I’m optimistic going forward that things are going to take a turn for the better in that regard but I guess time will tell,” Tory said.
Peter Bethlenfalvy – Treasury Board President
Paul Calandra – Government House Leader
Raymond Cho – Seniors and Accessibility
Steve Clark – Municipal Affairs and Housing
Doug Downey – Attorney General
Jill Dunlop – Associate Minister of Children and Women’s Issues
Christine Elliott – Health
Vic Fedeli – Economic Development, Job Creation, Trade, Chair of Cabinet
Merrilee Fullerton – Long-term Care
Ernie Hardeman – Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs
Sylvia Jones – Solicitor General
Stephen Lecce – Education
Lisa MacLeod – Tourism, Culture and Sport
Monte McNaughton – Labour
Caroline Mulroney – Transportation, Francophone Affairs
Rod Phillips – Finance
Greg Rickford – Energy, Northern Development, Indigenous Affairs
Ross Romano – Training, Colleges and Universities
Prabmeet Sarkaria – Associate Minister Small Businesses, Red Tape
Laurie Scott – Infrastructure
Todd Smith – Children, Community and Social Services
Michael Tibollo – Associate Minister Mental Health and Addictions
Bill Walker – Associate Minister Energy
John Yakabuski – Natural Resources and Forestry
Jeff Yurek – Environment, Conservation and Parks
What the critics say:
New cabinet, same old crockery?
“Instead of running a government for the people, (Premier) Doug Ford forgot the people. He is running a rudderless government and thinks rearranging deck chairs will help save a sinking ship.”
— Liberal leadership candidate Steven Del Duca
“I hate to be the one to break it to Ford, but shuffling his cabinet isn’t going to solve his problems.”
— Elementary Teachers’ Federation of Ontario (ETFO) President Sam Hammond
“The new cabinet cannot be a cheerleading squad for the premier. We need them to be advocates for their portfolios, speaking up for the environment, for children and for decisions that make sense.”
— Ontario Green Party Leader Mike Schreiner
“It is chaos.”
— Liberal leader John Fraser
“What we’re seeing is Doug Ford changing channels without changing direction. He’s bloating the size of cabinet by one third while still planning to fire education and health-care workers.”
— NDP Leader Andrea Horwath
“Ford was happy to send out Lisa MacLeod, Christine Elliott, Caroline Mulroney, and Lisa Thompson to defend all of his cruel and chaotic cuts. And how did he reward them? By throwing them under his man-cave van.”
— OPSEU President Warren “Smokey” Thomas