Yasir Naqvi appointed Ontario's AG as Kathleen Wynne shuffles cabinet

Ottawa remains represented by three MPPs at the provincial cabinet table following this morning's shuffle at Queen's Park, with Bob Chiarelli and Yasir Naqvi taking on new roles and Marie-France Lalonde of Ottawa-Orléans assuming one of the posts vacated by Madeleine Meilleur.

Bob Chiarelli takes back infrastructure file while Marie-France Lalonde joins cabinet

Attorney General Yasir Naqvi is flanked by Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne (left) and Lt.-Gov. Elizabeth Dowdeswell (right) after the cabinet swearing in at Queen's Park in Toronto on Monday, June 13, 2016. (Peter Power/The Canadian Press)

Ottawa remains represented by three MPPs at the provincial cabinet table following this morning's shuffle at Queen's Park, with Bob Chiarelli and Yasir Naqvi taking on new roles and Marie-France Lalonde of Ottawa-Orléans assuming one of the posts vacated by Madeleine Meilleur.

Naqvi becomes attorney general, responsible for Ontario's justice system.

"That's generally seen to be a promotion," said Jonathan Malloy, an associate professor in Carleton University's political science department.

"Attorney general is considered to be a high-profile and important file in the cabinet. Mr. Naqvi obviously has some real standing in the party," said Malloy.

Naqvi leaves community safety and correctional services, where he was overseeing changes to policing and was promising to follow up on recommendations to improve conditions at the Ottawa-Carleton Detention Centre.

Chiarelli to infrastructure, again

Bob Chiarelli leaves the energy portfolio to Sudbury's Glenn Thibeault, and moves to infrastructure — a file Chiarelli oversaw from 2010 to 2013.

Reporters questioned Premier Kathleen Wynne over her decision to move Chiarelli, who had been managing crises such as the gas plant scandal and hydro rate increases.

"He is tough, he is tough," the premier admitted. "He's done amazing work."

Wynne called the infrastructure file "critical" to her plan to create jobs in Ontario and to grow the economy.

"We've made changes to bring experience into ministries that will help with that focus," Wynne said.

Ottawa-Orléans MPP gets 1st cabinet post

Marie-France Lalonde, who was elected to represent Ottawa-Orléans in 2014, said she's excited and honoured to be given both government and consumer services, as well as francophone affairs.

She helped champion francophone issues for the last two years as Meilleur's parliamentary assistant.
Marie-France Lalonde, minister of government and consumer services and minister responsible for francophone affairs on Monday, June 13, 2016. (Peter Power/The Canadian Press)

The rest of Lalonde's file is broad, making her responsible for everything from Service Ontario to Ontario's travel regulator, the Travel Industry Council of Ontario. She will also be briefed in the next two days on payday loans and upstart economic forces such as Uber and Airbnb.

"We are a ministry that oversees the procurement of the government also, so I'm looking forward to bringing that business sense within that ministry," said Lalonde, who co-owned and ran the Portobello seniors' residence in Orléans and was trained in social work.

North Grenville mayor David Gordon had been lobbying Lalonde's predecessor over a review of the decision to close Service Ontario locations, including the one in Kemptville. He's now keen to meet Lalonde.

Gordon had another reason to keep a close eye on today's cabinet shuffle: the future of the former agricultural college in Kemptville.

Gordon said he was pleased that Jeff Leal and Glen Murray retained their respective agriculture and environment files because he didn't want to see negotiations to turn the college into a community hub delayed by having to bring new ministers up to speed.