Windsor West MPP Teresa Piruzza named to cabinet post

Windsor still has a cabinet voice in Queen's Park now that Windsor West MPP Teresa Piruzza has been named minister of child and youth services.

Windsor West Liberal MPP named minister of child and youth services

Teresa Piruzza was named to Premier Kathleen Wynne's cabinet Monday. 3:15

Teresa Piruzza pledged Tuesday morning to bring a local voice to Queen's Park.

The first-term, Windsor West Liberal MPP was named minister of child and youth services on Monday.

"Being at the table really allows me to be part of the discussions. It gives me the enhanced opportunity to bring forward specific issues for our area, as well," Piruzza said. "It’s all about the community and the constituents; doing the best you can and working as hard as you can for everyone across the province and for your community."

The appointment comes less than a week after Finance Minister Dwight Duncan announced his retirement. Windsor previously had former Windsor West MPP Sandra Pupatello hold several cabinet positions.

At one time, both were in cabinet together.

Piruzza called them both "great friends."

University of Windsor political science professor Cheryl Collier said two things make Piruzza an attractive member of cabinet. Collier called Piruzza a "solid member of parliament," but said that Piruzza’s geographical location was the biggest reason for her appointment.

Piruzza is the sole MPP west of London.

"You want that person to be in cabinet, to show people in this area they aren’t being  forgotten," Collier said.

Wynne pledged to "govern all of Ontario" when she won the Liberal leadership last month.

"She was distancing herself from being seen as Toronto-centric. The way to combat that in the eyes of the electorate is to make sure you have people in your cabinet that regionally represents all of Ontario," Collier said. "Really, Teresa Piruzza was her only choice in that respect."

Windsor Regional Hospital CEO David Musyj called Piruzza’s appointment "the best news of the day."

"To lose both Dwight and Sandra and have them replaced by Teresa is a big win for Windsor," Musyj said.

Piruzza will oversee child-care services, the Children’s Aid Society and adoption. Collier said the portfolio doesn’t carry much weight and more or less shadows the education minister.

Bill Bevan, who runs the local Children's Aid Society, applauds the move.

"We think with the appointment of Teresa in this role, child welfare will be heard, and we'll get the kind of support we need," he said.

Still, Musyj said Piruzza "will play an integral role" in the hospital’s Regional Children’s Centre and the WE Care for Kids House, which opens March 1.

"We clearly have the need in this community and to have in Queen’s Park a direct voice and influential voice is great news for our community," he said.