Vic Fedeli is out at finance after overseeing release of just one provincial budget
Some of Ontario Premier Doug Ford’s most high-profile cabinet ministers have been moved out of their posts as part of a major shuffle that comes amid slumping poll numbers for the premier and controversies on several important files.
Nipissing MPP Vic Fedeli is no longer finance minister. He was demoted to minister of economic development, job creation and trade. Fedeli’s departure from the top cabinet position comes after he oversaw the release of just one provincial budget.
Ford’s government faced weeks of intense criticism and protests at Queen’s Park after near-daily stories emerged of cuts that came in the aftermath of the April budget.
Rod Phillips, who served as environment minister for the first year of the PCs’ mandate and played a key role in the cancellation of Ontario’s cap-and-trade program, will take over the finance portfolio. Jeff Yurek will move from transportation to the environment portfolio.
Meanwhile, Lisa Thompson, who had been education minister, and Lisa MacLeod, who was minister of children, community and social services, were both demoted. The two files have seen considerable strife recently as the province cut funding to school boards and revamped Ontario’s autism program.
Thompson will now be responsible for government and consumer services, while MacLeod takes over the Ministry of Tourism, Culture and Sport.
All but seven ministers saw their roles changed. Details of the shuffle were revealed at a Thursday morning swearing-in ceremony at Queen’s Park attended by Ontario Lieutenant Governor Elizabeth Dowdeswell.
With the shuffle, the size of Ford’s cabinet grows from 21 to a total of 28 ministers and associate ministers. After the PCs formed a majority government last year, Ford said he intended to keep his cabinet small to save taxpayers’ money.
Christine Elliott will remain deputy premier and minister of health, though the portfolio now has two additional cabinet positions. Merrilee Fullerton becomes minister of long-term care and Michael Tibollo becomes associate minister of mental health and addictions.
In addition to Elliott, Solicitor General Sylvia Jones and Treasury Board President Peter Bethlenfalvy will also stay in their current cabinet positions.
Caroline Mulroney will no longer be the attorney general and instead will head up the province’s Ministry of Transportation and continue to oversee francophone affairs.
The shuffle also brought significant promotions for a number of backbenchers — Stephen Lecce will serve as minister of education, while Doug Downey is Ontario’s new attorney general.
Ford has recently been slipping in public opinion polls, and some suggest he could hurt Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer’s chances of winning in Ontario in the October federal election. SOURCE