Ontario Premier Ford & Cabinet Update from Global Public Affairs

Monday, July 2, 2018

AmCham Canada, Toronto-GTA Member, Global Public Affairs, a privately-held Canadian firm providing integrated government relations, strategic communications, and issues management consulting services has provided an update on Ontario Premier Ford and his Cabinet.

“If you want to go fast, you go alone.

If you want to go far, you go together.”


- Premier Doug Ford closed with the proverb in his speech last Friday



In this update:

  1. Premier Ford takes office
  2. PC front bench appointed
  3. Parliamentary Assistant appointments
  4. Deputy Minister appointments
  5. Opposition Reaction 
  6. Next steps for the Ford government



A ‘For the People’ swearing-in at Queen’s Park

Three weeks after being elected, Doug Ford was sworn in as the 26th premier of Ontario last Friday during a public ceremony on the lawn of Queen’s Park, a tongue-in-cheek nod to Liberal David Peterson, who also took the oath publicly in 1985 following 42 years of PC control.

In attendance were former Ontario premiers Mike Harris, Ernie Eves, and Bob Rae; Toronto Councillor Georgio Mammoliti; Toronto Police Chief Mark Saunders; and former mayor of Mississauga, Hazel McCallion. The celebration attracted hundreds of people, and Ford was eager to mingle with the friendly crowd after the ceremony, an early effort to keep his campaign promises of accessibility and governing ‘for the people’.

Ford’s speech integrated key tenets of the PC platform, including trust and transparency, putting money back in people’s pockets, and “respecting the will of Ontarians.” He also envisioned a government that crosses party lines. He reiterated his commitment to cancelling cap and trade, lowering gas prices, a line-by-line audit of government finances, support of his federal counterparts with respect to NAFTA, and that Ontario is “open for business.” He closed his remarks with a proverb: “If you want to go fast, you go alone. If you want to go far, you go together.”

Ford will lead a team of 76 MPPs as the PCs take the helm at Queen’s Park as a majority government for the first time since the election of Mike Harris in 1995. Ford has already made several major announcements, including implementing a hiring freeze on all government agencies while the finances are reviewed. His commitment to ending cap and trade has received pointed criticism from NDP Leader Andrea Horwath, whose party is now the official opposition.

With 21 Ministers at the table, Ford’s cabinet is a noticeable contraction from Kathleen Wynne’s 28.

 



PC front bench appointed

Following Ford’s swearing-in, the new executive council followed suit taking their oaths of office. Ford’s cabinet includes new MPPs, incumbents, as well as loyal Ford supporters.

  • Doug Ford, Premier and Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs. Doug will serve as Ontario’s 26th Premier while serving as the MPP for Etobicoke-North. Traditionally the Premier also takes the role of Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs.
  • Christine Elliott, Deputy Premier and Minister of Health and Long-Term Care. Elliott was first elected in 2006, representing the riding of Whitby-Ajax, and served as deputy leader of the PC party from 2009 until her resignation in 2015. Elliott was previously critic for this portfolio and most recently was Ontario’s first Patient Ombudsman under the former Liberal government, before returning to politics earlier this year. Elliott ran in the winter PC Leadership race where she came in a close second to Ford. She successfully won the riding of Newmarket-Aurora in the election.
  • Caroline Mulroney, Attorney General and Minister Responsible for Francophone Affairs. Mulroney’s first foray into public life was successful as she won her riding of York-Simcoe by over 15,000 votes. The daughter of Canada’s 18th Prime Minister, Mulroney is a lawyer by trade and is one of several star candidates recruited to the PC banner by former Leader Patrick Brown.
  • Peter Bethlenfalvy, President of the Treasury Board. He joins Queen’s Park as a rookie MPP after winning the new riding of Pickering-Uxbridge. Bethlenfalvy previously served as the chief investment officer at CST Consultants Inc., senior vice-president of financial regulations at Manulife Financial, co-president of DBRS Ltd., and as senior vice-president of TD Bank in New York.
  • Lisa Thompson, Minister of Education. She has been the MPP for Huron-Bruce since 2011. Thompson has had several roles in opposition as critic for Environment and Climate Change, Energy, Small Business and Red Tape, Indigenous Relations and Reconciliation and International Trade.  In January 2018, Thompson was chosen as the party's caucus chair.
  • Lisa MacLeod, Minister of Children, Community and Social Services and Minister Responsible for Women’s Issues. MacLeod has represented the riding of Nepean-Carlton at Queen’s Park since 2006. She has held the post of critic for Treasury Board issues, Digital Government, Ottawa issues and the Anti-Racism Secretariat, as well as being Vice-Chair for the Standing Committee on Public Accounts. MacLeod, whose name was mentioned as a potential replacement to Patrick Brown, decided not to peruse the leadership and most recently served as the party's finance critic.
  • Rod Phillips, Minister of the Environment, Conservation and Parks. Phillips was one of the PC’s star candidates. He previously served as CEO of the Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corporation (OLG) and as Chair of Post Media and will now represent the new riding of Ajax.
  • Vic Fedeli, Finance Minister and Chair of Cabinet. Fedeli served as Leader of the Official Opposition and interim leader of the PC Party following the resignation of Patrick Brown. Fedeli has been Nipissing’s representative at Queen’s Park since 2011, and in that time, has served as Energy and Finance critic. Fedeli ran in the PC’s 2015 leadership race, eventually withdrawing and endorsing Christine Elliott, and was the steady hand that steered the PC party though a snap leadership race and into the 2018 election campaign.
  • Todd Smith, Minister of Government and Consumer Services and Government House Leader. Smith was first elected as the MPP for Prince Edward-Hastings in 2011, and now represents the new riding of Bay of Quinte which is one of two ridings Prince Edward-Hastings was redistributed into. Most recently, Smith has served as the PC Energy critic but has also filled critic roles for Natural Resources and Forestry, Small Business and Red Tape, and Citizenship and Immigration.
  • Raymond Cho, Minister of Seniors Affairs and Accessibility. A former Toronto City Councillor, Cho is a loyal supporter of Ford, having supported him during his bid for leader of the PCs. Cho was elected to represent the riding of Scarborough North in a 2016 by-election.
  • Monte McNaughton, Minister of Infrastructure. First elected as MPP for Lambton-Kent-Middlesex in 2011, McNaughton has served in opposition as critic for economic development and growth, infrastructure and finance.
  • Jeff Yurek, Minister of Natural Resources and Forestry. Representing the riding of Elgin-Middlesex-London since 2011, Yurek has served in opposition as the critic for natural resources and forestry as well as health and long-term care. Prior to politics, Yurek ran his family’s pharmacy business Yurek Pharamcy Ltd.
  • Ernie Hardeman, Minister of Agriculture and Rural Affairs. Ernie has served the riding of Oxford since 1995 making him one of the longest serving MPPs in the province’s history. This will be Ernie’s third time at Ontario’s cabinet table having served under former Premier Mike Harris and Premier Ernie Eves.
  • Merrilee Fullerton, Minister of Training, Colleges and Universities. Merrilee is a rookie MPP representing the riding of Kanata-Carleton in the Ottawa area. She is a family physician by training.
  • Steve Clark, Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing. From the Kingston area, Clark has served as MPP since 2010 while holding a number of senior positions during opposition including Deputy Leader.
  • Sylvia Jones, Minister of Tourism, Culture and Sport. As the MPP for the riding of Dufferin-Caledon since 2007, Jones has served as the opposition critic for a number of roles including children and youth services, infrastructure and government services. Jones has also served as Deputy Leader.
  • Laurie Scott, Minister of Labour. Scott has served twice in the provincial legislature. Her first term from 2003 to 2009 and then reelected in 2011 in the riding of Haliburton-Kawartha-Lakes Brock. She is a nurse by trade.  
  • Greg Rickford, Minister of Energy, Northern Development and Mines and Minister of Indigenous Affairs. Rickford was another star candidate having served in former Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s cabinet as Minister of Science and Technology and Minister of Natural Resources. Rickford represents the northern riding of Kenora-Rainy River.
  • Michael Tibollo, Minister of Community Safety and Correctional Services. Michael is a rookie MPP from the riding of Vaughan-Woodbridge having beat former Liberal cabinet minister Steven Del Duca. Michael is a lawyer by trade and campaigned on transparency.
  • John Yakabuski, Minister of Transportation. Yakabuski is a long-time PC MPP having served the Renfrew-Nipissing-Pembroke since 2003. While in opposition, he served in a number of critic roles including energy and House Leader.
  • Jim Wilson, Minister of Economic Development, Job Creation and Trade. Wilson has served at Queen’s Park representing the riding of Simcoe-Grey since 1990. Following the last election and resignation of former leader Tim Hudak, Wilson was elected by caucus to serve as interim-leader.

With 7 women and 14 men, Ontario’s cabinet table didn’t quite achieve gender balance but does include six rookie MPPs as well as senior appointments for Vic Fedeli, Christine Elliott and Caroline Mulroney.

 

Parliamentary Assistant appointments

Parliamentary Assistant’s support Ministers with legislative and committee matters, including special projects and assignments that require dedicated leadership. They also play a key role in building relationships and communicating government initiatives across the province. Today the Parliamentary Assistants were also announced:

  • Robert Bailey - Parliamentary Assistant to the Minister of Government and Consumer Services
  • Toby Barrett - Parliamentary Assistant to the Minister of Natural Resources and Forestry
  • Paul Calandra - Parliamentary Assistant to the Minister of Energy, Northern Development and Mines (Energy)
  • Stan Cho - Parliamentary Assistant to the President of the Treasury Board
  • Doug Downey - Parliamentary Assistant to the Minister of Finance
  • Amy Fee - Parliamentary Assistant to the Minister of Children, Community, and Social Services (Children and Autism)
  • Christine Hogarth - Parliamentary Assistant to the Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing (Housing)
  • Belinda Karahalios - Parliamentary Assistant to the Minister of Children, Community, and Social Services (Community and Social Services)
  • Vincent Ke - Parliamentary Assistant to the Minister of Tourism, Culture and Sport
  • Andrea Khanjin - Parliamentary Assistant to the Minister of the Environment, Conservation and Parks
  • Stephen Lecce - Parliamentary Assistant to the Minister of Infrastructure
  • Robin Martin - Parliamentary Assistant to the Minister of Health and Long-Term Care (Health)
  • Gila Martow - Parliamentary Assistant to the Minister of Labour
  • Jim McDonell - Parliamentary Assistant to the Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing (Municipal Affairs)
  • Norm Miller - Parliamentary Assistant to the Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs
  • Sam Oosterhoff - Parliamentary Assistant to the Minister of Education
  • Lindsey Park - Parliamentary Assistant to the Attorney General
  • Michael Parsa - Parliamentary Assistant to the Minister of Economic Development, Job Creation and Trade (Small Business)
  • Randy Pettapiece - Parliamentary Assistant to the Minister of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs
  • David Piccini - Parliamentary Assistant to the Minister of Training, Colleges and Universities
  • Ross Romano - Parliamentary Assistant to the Minister of Energy, Northern Development and Mines (Northern Development and Mines) and Parliamentary Assistant to the Minister of Indigenous Affairs
  • Prabmeet Sarkaria - Parliamentary Assistant to the Minister of Community Safety and Correctional Services
  • Amanda Simard - Parliamentary Assistant to the Minister Responsible for Francophone Affairs
  • Donna Skelly - Parliamentary Assistant to the Minister of Economic Development, Job Creation, and Trade (Trade)
  • Kinga Surma - Parliamentary Assistant to the Minister of Transportation
  • Effie Triantafilopoulos - Parliamentary Assistant to the Minister of Health and Long-Term Care (Long-Term Care)



Deputy Minister appointments

As part of the restructuring and transition process, the Secretary of Cabinet Steve Orsini and the Ontario Public Service senior leadership will need to adjust over the coming months. A number of senior deputy ministers have retired or moved on to new roles including Dr. Bob Bell from Health and Long-Term Care, Northern Development and Mines Deputy David de Launay, Maureen Adamson from Tourism, Culture and Sport and Alex Bezzina from Children and Youth Services. Premier Ford has requested that Steve Orsini remain as Secretary of Cabinet to ensure a smooth transition within the province’s bureaucracy. Below are the current Deputy Ministers:

  • Helen Angus becomes Deputy Minister of Health and Long-Term Care. This ministry will now also be responsible for youth mental health.
  • Lynn Betzner continues as Associate Secretary of the Cabinet; Deputy Minister, Communications, Cabinet Office; and Deputy Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs. Lynn will work closely with the new government in supporting its communication efforts and will assume lead responsibility for Ontario.ca.
  • Sam Erry remains Deputy Minister of Correctional Services and will assume responsibility for the Anti-Racism Directorate.
  • Marie-Lison Fougère becomes Deputy Minister for Seniors and Accessibility and Deputy Minister Responsible for Francophone Affairs.
  • Kevin French becomes Deputy Minister of Government Services, reporting to the Minister of Government and Consumer Services. This ministry will also have responsibility for Information Technology operations and government real estate. 
  • Giles Gherson becomes Deputy Minister, Red Tape and Regulatory Burden Reduction, Cabinet Office, to lead one the Premier’s top priorities: to help make Ontario more competitive and open for business.
  • Hillary Hartley becomes Deputy Minister of Consumer Services, reporting to the Minister of Government and Consumer Services, and will be responsible for ServiceOntario and Open Government. As Chief Digital Officer, she will continue to lead the Ontario Digital Service. Hillary will also lead the development of consumer service guarantees and a new centre of excellence on design thinking and lean methodologies. She will be initiating an internal competition for an assistant deputy minister to head the centre.
  • Serge Imbrogno becomes Deputy Minister of the Environment, Conservation and Parks.  This ministry will be assigned responsibility for provincial parks, Conservation Authorities and species-at-risk legislation.
  • Nancy Kennedy becomes Deputy Minister, Treasury Board Secretariat and Secretary of Treasury Board and Management Board of Cabinet. The Inclusive Diversity Office within Cabinet Office will move to the renamed Public Service Commission (formerly known as the Centre for Leadership and Learning) within the Treasury Board Secretariat.
  • David de Launay continues as Deputy Minister of Northern Development and Mines, reporting to the Minister of Energy, Northern Development and Mines. 
  • Laurie LeBlanc becomes Deputy Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing, reporting to the Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing.
  • Nancy Matthews becomes Deputy Minister of Tourism, Culture and Sport. Nancy will play a leadership role in enhancing youth engagement in sports and recreation. This ministry will now also be responsible for honours and awards.
  • Janet Menard becomes Deputy Minister of Children, Community and Social Services. This ministry will join together the functions from community and social services and children and youth portfolios, including youth justice. In addition, the ministry will be responsible for citizenship and immigration policy, including newcomer and refugee resettlement. Janet also becomes Deputy Minister Responsible for Women’s Issues.
  • Greg Orencsak becomes Deputy Minister of Finance.
  • Shirley Phillips becomes Deputy Minister of Economic Development, Job Creation and Trade. This ministry brings together the economic development and trade portfolios, and will now also be responsible for the Ontario Immigrant Nominee Program.
  • Stephen Rhodes becomes Deputy Minister of Energy, reporting to the Minister of Energy, Northern Development and Mines.
  • Deborah Richardson becomes Deputy Minister of Indigenous Affairs, reporting to the Minister of Indigenous Affairs. 
  • Scott Thompson becomes Deputy Minister of Transportation and Deputy Minister of Infrastructure.
  • George Zegarac becomes Deputy Minister of Training, Colleges and Universities. This ministry will now also be responsible for the College of Trades, immigration training programs and the Office of the Fairness Commissioner.
  • Paul Boniferro remains Deputy Attorney General.
  • Steven Davidson remains Deputy Minister of Policy and Delivery, Cabinet Office.
  • Sophie Dennis remains Deputy Minister of Labour.
  • Greg Meredith remains Deputy Minister of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs.
  • Bruce Rodrigues remains Deputy Minister of Education and Deputy Minister Responsible for Early Years and Child Care.
  • Bill Thornton remains Deputy Minister of Natural Resources and Forestry.
  • Matt Torigian remains Deputy Minister of Community Safety and Correctional Services.

 

Opposition reaction 

The NDP will now respond to the PC cabinet choices and traditionally, the Opposition shadow cabinet is revealed shortly after the government announces its cabinet. Given Premier Ford has opted for a leaner Cabinet, the NDP must look at how the responsibilities have been divided and announce their picks accordingly.

In terms of research staff and other employees not associated with specific MPPs, all other parties will begin hiring once the caucus budget is allocated over the next few days. As all NDP staff belong to a union, those positions will be filled according to union rules in a fashion different from other parties.



Next steps for the Ford government

With a cabinet in place, the government will now focus on hiring staff for key positions, learning their portfolios and their mandates moving forward. Ford has commented he will recall the legislature on or around July 9.

All signs point to strong control and a centralized approach to governance by Ford and his inner circle, starting with the appointment of ministerial chiefs of staff. The Toronto Star reported that the new ministers will not be allowed to select their own chiefs of staff; instead, Ford’s office would select and appoint them to the various ministries. The same will go for other senior staff positions.

It is unknown if Ford and his team will continue the practice of making their mandate letters public, but it is expected that key government directions will be released shortly.


The government is expected to convene during their first sitting in Toronto next month, which will begin with the election of a Speaker, followed by a Speech from the Throne. The Speech from the Throne, which will be drafted by the government and read in the House by Lieutenant-Governor Elizabeth Dowdeswell, will lay out the government’s agenda and what they plan to achieve during the parliamentary session.

After the speech, the government is expected to sit for a number of days to introduce and pass several points of key legislation. While the government did not explicitly lay out what legislation would be introduced, it is expected to include legislation around ending the cap-and-trade program, reducing gasoline prices at the pumps as well as back-to-work legislation for striking York University workers.

 

Thank you to Global Public Affairs for allowing us to share their insights of the Ontario Election with you.

For further insights and information on the province's changing political environment, please contact:

Elizabeth Wagdin  |  Vice President and General Manager, Toronto  |  Global Public Affairs


E: ewagdin@globalpublic.com

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