With Doug Ford in the wheelhouse, no amount of cabinet shuffling will make a difference. The iceberg is out there, looming just over the horizon, with the words; ‘Three More Years and You’re Sunk’ written on the place were you are going to collide and go down.
A Commentary by Doug Draper
Posted June 20th, 2019 on Niagara At Large
With recent polls showing Doug Ford scoring popularity numbers lower than those of almost any other Ontario Premier at this early stage of their tenure, he has shuffled and even swelled the number of seats on his cabinet from 21 to 28.
Let me repeat the last part of the above sentence so that it has a little more time to sink in.
The same Doug Ford who has spent the past 12 months cutting and gutting a host of public services, including health care, education and environmental protection, and who has chopped Toronto’s city council in half and is not threatening to shrink the number of municipal councils and councillors in Niagara and other regions of the province, has just increased the size of his cabinet from 21 to 28!
We will all find out later how many more tens-of-millions of dollars it will cost to pay for all of these new ministers, including the costs of their chauffeur driving cars, their office staff and all of the other expensive paraphernalia that goes with each one of these cabinet positions.
The added costs of all these new cabinet posts will probably add up to a figure that would be more than enough to cover the funding Ford took away from flood management and tree-planting programs in Niagara and elsewhere across the province, for more resources to help people living with autism, for keeping at least some of the hundreds of health care jobs (in addition to thousands of others) we heard were being eliminated just this week.
It is not all bad news though.
As part of the shuffle, Vic Fedeli was demoted from finance minister to minister of economic development, job creation and trade, apparently because Ford was not pleased with the roll out of his ‘Government for the People’s” first budge was rolled out this April.
Someone had to take fall for all the flak that budget received and continues to receive from the public as we continue to find out about service cuts that were hidden, and it certainly wasn’t going to be the supreme leader.
So it is Fedeli who gets a boot down the ladder. And not that many might care if this shameless cutter and gutter of services ends up blowing a kazoo at the corner of Yonge and Bloor Streets for a show box full of nickels and pennies, but it doesn’t seem fair.
One doubts that the roll out for this cluster bomb of a budget would go any better if Moses had brought it down from Mount Sinai.
Then there is the demotion of Caroline Mulroney, a former Ontario Tory leadership candidate and daughter of former prime Ministry Brian Mulroney, from Attorney General to Minister of Transportation.
Transportation may be an important portfolio in many of our books, but in the world of politics, it is quite a slide down the rungs of the ladder from that of top legal eagle. And what slap in the face after all of the work Mulroney has done, from helping Ford over-ride a judge’s decision that would have blocks his decision to cut the size of Toronto’s city council in half, to helping Ford mount a court challenge against the federal government’s efforts to put a price on some of the carbon pollution that is wreaking havoc on our climate.
Those may be among the things that will make up Mulroney’s legacy after, thanks to Ford driving his party down even lower in the polls, she is voted out of office three years from now.
In the meantime, though, Mulroney takes over the province’s Ministry of Transportation just in time to help Ford roll out his recent promise to higher speeds on a Niagara stretch of the QEW between St. Catharines and Hamilton, and on other 400 series highways in Ontario, even as the budget for the Ontario Provincial Police is being cut.
Something tells me that she will continue to carry out whatever dubious duties she is given with the same shameless loyalty she displayed for Ford while serving as attorney general.
Before we move on from those who have slid down that ladder, it is worth mentioning that the ever so insufferable Lisa MacLeod, who too often looked smug and self-satisfied when services for people diagnosed with autism came under the gun, was demoted from Minister of Social Services to Minister of Culture, Tourism and Sport.
Good riddance to MacLeod in the Social Services portfolio, and pity to those who have to deal with her in the areas of culture, tourism and sport.
So as I said, it isn’t all bad news.
Now here is the list that was released by the Premier’sOffice today of the new cabinet, and while you are reviewing it, ask yourself why is it necessary to also have an “associate minister” for so many of these ministries. Is this not, at the taxpayer’s expense, for Ford to buy loyalty by handing out more perks to members of his caucus?
Then look at the number of ministries that have been split up like the Ministry of Health, that has now been split three ways where now, thanks to Ford, we have a Ministry of Health and two additional ministries – Long-Term Care and Mental Health and Addiction.
Isn’t it interesting how Ford says he is so eager to reduce the size of government by reducing the number of councillors and amalgamating whole town and city councils at the municipal level, yet here he is splitting up ministries at the provincial level to create more fat cat jobs for his political cronies?
In the case Christine Elliott, who continues to serve as Health Minister for Ford, every Ontario health minister before her was tasked with overseeing the delivery of services under all three of the above areas.
If it is too much of a job for Elliott to handle, then maybe she should leave it for someone else. Or it will be up to the people in her riding to fire her three years from now, when we have another provincial election.
It is hard to imagine a private corporation with shareholders to answer to, swelling its ranks like this. But then it is only our tax money at play here, right?
Can the next provincial election come soon enough?
Now here is the list for Ontario’s new cabinet –
June 20, 2019
- * Premier and Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs – Doug Ford
- * Deputy Premier and Minister of Health – Christine Elliott
- * Associate Minister of Mental Health and Addictions – Michael Tibollo
- * Minister of Long-Term Care – Merrilee Fullerton
- * Minister of Finance – Rod Phillips
- * Minister of Economic Development, Job Creation and Trade and Chair of Cabinet – Vic Fedeli
- * Associate Minister of Small Business and Red Tape Reduction – Prabmeet Sarkaria
- * Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing – Steve Clark
- * Solicitor General – Sylvia Jones
- * Minister of Environment, Conservation and Parks – Jeff Yurek
- * Minister of Children, Community and Social Services – Todd Smith
- * Associate Minister of Children and Women’s Issues – Jill Dunlop
- * Minister of Labour – Monte McNaughton
- * Attorney General – Doug Downey
- * Minister of Transportation and Minister of Francophone Affairs – Caroline Mulroney
- * Associate Minister of Transportation (GTA) – Kinga Surma
- * Minister of Training, Colleges and Universities – Ross Romano
- * Minister of Education – Stephen Lecce
- * President of the Treasury Board – Peter Bethlenfalvy
- * Minister of Natural Resources and Forestry – John Yakabuski
- * Minister of Energy, Northern Development and Mines, and Minister of Indigenous Affairs – Greg Rickford
- * Associate Minister of Energy – Bill Walker
- * Minister for Seniors and Accessibility – Raymond Cho
- * Minister of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs – Ernie Hardeman
- * Minister of Infrastructure – Laurie Scott
- * Minister of Tourism, Culture and Sport – Lisa MacLeod
- * Minister of Government and Consumer Services – Lisa Thompson
- * Government House Leader – Paul Calandra
To read the media release on the Ontario cabinet shuffle circulated this June 20th by Premier’s Office, click on – <http://news.ontario.ca/opo/en/2019/06/premier-ford-announces-changes-to-his-cabinet.html?utm_source=ondemand&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=m>
To read a CBC report on the cabinet shuffle, click on – Doug Ford shuffling cabinet Thursday amid sagging poll results
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