Premier Kathleen Wynne made a few major moves in a cabinet shuffle for the start of the new legislative session — her first cabinet picks after winning a majority government earlier this month. But she did not remove anyone from cabinet.
"The next 10 years will be Ontario’s decade," said the premier optimistically as she introduced the reorganized cabinet.
Wynne will continue as minister of intergovernmental affairs, though she will no longer be the agriculture and food minister.
Eric Hoskins, Health: In the biggest promotion of today's shuffle, Hoskins, a doctor who's worked for charities that help children in war zones, takes over the Health Ministry from Deb Matthews. He was first elected to the downtown Toronto riding of St. Paul's in 2009. He ran against Wynne in last year's leadership convention before throwing his support behind her.
Deb Matthews, president of the Treasury Board and deputy premier: Matthews comes out of the Health Ministry cauldron where she's been since 2009. This is no demotion though, and it's expected Matthews will have direct oversight over day-to-day government spending and all big-ticket items. This will be key as the Liberals try to eliminate the deficit by 2017-18.
Mitzie Hunter, associate finance minister: The Scarborough-Guildwood member of the legislature takes on the considerable task of implementing the Liberals' made-in-Ontario pension plan.
Glen Murray, Environment: Former Winnipeg mayor moves from Transportation to Environment. Murray was passionate about the transit file, but didn't always sing from the party song sheet. This is a lateral move at best, though some are seeing it as an outright demotion. In response to the suggestion it was a step down for Murray, Wynne said, "There are no bad seats at the cabinet table."
Steven Del Duca, Transportation: A big move up for this Vaughan member of the legislature, as the Liberals are set to spend $29 billion on public transit, roads and bridges.
Charles Sousa, Finance: This was expected as Sousa, a former RBC executive, has the credentials and will essentially reintroduce the Liberals' pre-election budget. Sousa announced the budget would be retabled on July 14.
Liz Sandals, Education: The Guelph member of the legislature and former school board executive stays put. She may be asked to play tough with teachers in upcoming labour negotiations.
Kevin Flynn, Labour: Flynn's Oakville seat was one the Liberals were accused of trying to hold on to by cancelling a gas-fired power plant.
Other changes in the cabinet:
- Jim Bradley is minister without portfolio and becomes deputy government house leader.
- Michael Gravelle is minister of northern development and mines.
- Ted McMeekin becomes minister of municipal affairs and housing.
- Brad Duguid is minister of economic development and employment.
- Jeff Leal takes over from Kathleen Wynne as agriculture minister.
- Michael Chan becomes minister of citizenship, immigration and international trade.
- Reza Moridi holds on to his post as minister of research and innovation and takes over minister of training, colleges and universities from Brad Duguid.
- Helena Jaczek becomes minister of community and social services.