Reigning Ontario Empress Kathleen Wynne has announced her new shuffled cabinet today, and we are happy to say that it adequately reflects the symbolic progressive nature of her leadership. There are eight women on Wynne’s new cabinet, and four ministers are first-timers. Given the $12.5 billion provincial deficit, and the slew of enormous promises Wynne made on the campaign trail, these ministers are going to have their work cut out for them.
One of these brave new souls pulled into high government in this cabinet shuffle is Mitzie Hunter, a Jamaica-born MPP elected in the riding of Scarborough-Guildwood in a 2013 by-election. She will be serving as the associate minister of finance (a new position) assisting with setting up a newly improved Ontario Retirement Pension Plan, in the hope that it can be implemented province-wide by 2017. Charles Sousa is keeping his position as Finance Minister (AKA king of the province’s
Ca$h Tran$fer Moneyz).
Another interesting development revealed today is the appointment of Toronto Centre MPP Glen Murray to the post of Minister of the Environment and Climate Change. The latter part of the position title is brand new, and although Minister of Climate Change is a common position in places like Europe and Australia, this could be the first post of its kind in a North American government, a region of the developed world notorious for not giving a hoot about global warming.
Things could get a little awkward for this newly appointed Climate Change warrior as he will be sitting in cabinet meetings with a couple of ministers who will probably be in direct conflict with his ideas and goals. We’re referring to the posts of Minister of Natural Resources and Forestry and the Minister of Northern Affairs and Mines. The first noted post will be newly filled by former Municipal Affairs and Housing minister Bill Mauro, while the latter post will stay in the hands of Thunder Bay-Superior North MPP Michael Gravelle. Here’s hoping that it doesn’t get too hot.
Wynne appointed Steven Del Duca to replace Glen Murray as Transportation Minister for the province. In April, Wynne announced that the province will be investing $29 billion on a transit plan for the province, with roughly half of that amount going to the Toronto-Hamilton area and the other slightly-smaller portion of the money to the rest of Ontario. As a born-and-bred Torontonian, I must say that the prospect of improved city transit is very exciting, but the elephant in the room (Ontario’s deep debt) remains head-scratchingly unaddressed.
Wynne can shuffle around her peeps all she likes, but when the next election time comes around, the people of Ontario are going to need to see some serious results.