The torch officially passed from Dalton McGuinty to Kathleen Wynne on Monday, as Ontario's first female premier was sworn in at Queen’s Park and introduced the expanded cabinet that will serve alongside her.
The new premier was officially sworn in during an hour-long ceremony on Monday afternoon, along with the 27-member cabinet. That's five ministers more than McGuinty had in his cabinet.
"My cabinet is slightly larger than the last because of the serious work that is confronting us," Wynne said at Queen’s Park on Monday.
Wynne said she had learned that "putting together a cabinet is one of the most personally difficult tasks required of a premier," while choosing her own in recent days.
She said that her first cabinet meeting would take place Wednesday, following a Liberal caucus meeting on Tuesday.
The move to expand the cabinet drew immediate criticism from the Progressive Conservatives.
"She's been the premier for 30 minutes, and already she's increased the size of government," said Todd Smith, the Tory MPP for Prince Edward-Hastings.
Gilles Bisson, the New Democrat house leader, said that Wynne was desperate to put a new face on the Liberal government.
"But the real question is, how is it going to change things for people back home?" he said.
"We'll do the best that we can to propose ideas to the government. Let's hope Kathleen Wynne is serious when she says she wants to reach across the aisles and find ways to work with people."
Many new faces
At least nine of the new members Wynne has picked don't have prior cabinet experience, including four MPPs who have served in the three consecutive terms in which the Liberals have formed the government.
Of the first-time cabinet ministers, Liz Sandals may have the toughest assignment of any of her rookie colleagues.
A former local school board trustee, Sandals is taking on the education portfolio at a time when the governing Liberals are trying to rebuild a fractured relationship they have with the province's public school teachers.
Wynne said she had chosen Sandals for her experience in the education sector, as well as her record as a member of the legislature. The premier expressed full confidence in the new education minister’s ability to handle the challenges before her.
"I completely trust her ability to be able to guide the education sector right now," Wynne told reporters.
Sandals said Monday that she has worked with many people in the education sector and she believes that with the change of cabinet and a new premier, there is an appetite for change among teachers.
"Teachers on the ground want to get back to a more positive relationship," Sandals said.
Wynne 'determined' to work with opposition
When speaking to reporters after the swearing-in ceremony, Wynne returned to the priorities she intends to address as premier.
The premier said she wanted to "reinforce" the notion that she will continue to reach out to the opposition parties, as she has already begun to do.
"I am determined that we are going to work together," said Wynne, who believes that none of the parties have a desire to head into an election at the moment.
The Liberals will need the support of opposition members to get bills passed when the legislature is recalled later this month.
They are already in a minority position, but will soon be down two members with the pending departures of Dwight Duncan and Chris Bentley, both of whom have resigned their seats in southwestern Ontario.
Wynne becomes the province's first female premier and the country's first openly gay premier.
"It is not lost on me that I am the first woman to be sworn into this office, and that I am doing so with the support of the woman that I love," she said during a speech at her swearing-in ceremony.
She won leadership of the Ontario Liberal Party at a convention in Toronto last month that was called after McGuinty announced his resignation in October.
McGuinty had agreed to stay on as premier until the party selected a new leader.
His time as premier officially ended Monday, after more than nine years at the head of the Ontario government. On Twitter, McGuinty offered his congratulations to Wynne and his party.
"Proud to say the future is in good hands. All the best," McGuinty tweeted.
Deb Matthews, the newly named deputy premier, told reporters that seeing Wynne become the first female premier was something special.
"Today, I have to say is a pretty emotional day," said Matthews, who backed Wynne during the recent leadership campaign.
Here is the list of cabinet members:
- Wynne herself will be both premier and minister of agriculture. She represents the Toronto riding of Don Valley West.
- Matthews, the MPP for London North Centre, remains health minister, but also becomes deputy premier.
- Jim Bradley, the longtime MPP for St. Catharines, will continue in his role as minister of the environment.
- John Gerretsen, the MPP for Kingston and the Islands, will continue in his role as attorney general.
- Michael Gravelle, the MPP for Thunder Bay-Superior North, becomes minister of northern development and mines. He replaces Rick Bartolucci, who has said he will not run in the next election.
- Ted McMeekin, the MPP for Ancaster-Dundas-Flamborough-Westdale, is the new minster of community and social services.
- Charles Sousa, the MPP for Mississauga South, as reported previously, will be the new minister of finance. He replaces the departing Duncan, who held the job for the past five-plus years.
- Laurel Broten, the MPP for the Toronto riding of Etobicoke-Lakeshore, is the new minister of intergovernmental affairs and is also the minister responsible for women’s issues.
- Brad Duguid, the MPP for the Toronto riding of Scarborough Centre, is the new minister of training, colleges and universities.
- Linda Jeffrey, the MPP for Brampton-Springdale, is the new minister of municipal affairs and housing and is also the chair of the Liberal cabinet.
- Jeff Leal, the MPP for Peterborough, becomes minister of rural affairs.
- Madeleine Meilleur, the MPP for Ottawa-Vanier, stays in her role as the minister of community safety and correctional services, as well as the minister responsible for Francophone affairs.
- David Orazietti, the MPP for Sault Ste. Marie, becomes minister of natural resources.
- Liz Sandals, the MPP for Guelph, as reported previously, will be the new education minister.
- Harinder Takhar, the MPP for Mississauga-Erindale, will be minister of government services and serve as the chair of the management board of cabinet.
- David Zimmer, the MPP for the Toronto-area riding of Willowdale, will be minister of aboriginal affairs.
- Michael Chan, the MPP for the Toronto-area riding of Markham-Unionville, remains as minister of tourism, culture and sport and as minister responsible for the 2015 Pan/Parapan American Games.
- Reza Moridi, the MPP for the riding of Richmond Hill, becomes minister of research and innovation.
- Yasir Naqvi, the MPP for Ottawa Centre, will become labour minister. He has resigned from his position as president of the Ontario Liberal Party after being sworn in as labour minister.
- Eric Hoskins, the MPP for the Toronto riding of St. Paul’s, will serve as the minister of economic development, trade and employment.
- Glen Murray, the MPP for Toronto Centre, will be the minister of infrastructure and the minister of transportation.
- Bob Chiarelli, the MPP for Ottawa West-Nepean, as reported previously, will be minister of energy. He will take over for Bentley who is resigning.
- Michael Coteau, the MPP for the Toronto riding of Don Valley East, will be the new minister of citizenship and immigration.
- Tracy MacCharles, the first-term MPP for the Toronto-area riding of Pickering-Scarborough East, will be the new minister of consumer services.
- Teresa Piruzza, the first-term MPP for Windsor West, becomes the new minister of children and youth services.
- Mario Sergio, the MPP for York West, becomes minister responsible for seniors.
- John Milloy, the MPP for Kitchener Centre, will continue to serve in his role as government house leader.