First day of work for Northern MPPs in new cabinet
It was just over one year ago when MPP Thibeault denied being offered a cabinet position to defect from NDP.
When Glenn Thibeault defected to the Ontario Liberals a little over a year ago it was widely rumoured that he was promised a cabinet post, but has repeatedly denied that.
On Monday, Premier Kathleen Wynne announced a cabinet shuffle, and the Sudbury MPP was named as energy minister.
- MP Glenn Thibeault's defection leaves the NDP feeling 'hurt'
- NDP's Glenn Thibeault 'proud' to defect to Ontario Liberals
The other three northern Liberal MPPs, Michael Gravelle, Bill Mauro and David Orazietti remained in cabinet, bringing the total complement to four.
Thibeault said that having the north so heavily represented in cabinet will be good for the region.
But Nickel Belt MPP France Gelinas said appointing four northern MPPs to cabinet was a hollow gesture by the premier, as ultimately the ministers will do as she dictates.
"The agenda is the same, it doesn't matter who she puts in there," Gelinas said. "She is the one who sets the agenda and everybody else follows."
Gelinas also said she was disappointed that several strong female Liberal backbenchers did not get promoted to cabinet, to reach the gender parity the premier had been aiming for.
"Coming from a community that is so resource-based with energy so critical," he said, "being able to have an understanding of how energy affects and works within these large enterprises, for me I think is an important piece."
Thibeault was previously an NDP MP, who was very active in calling for lower gas prices.
But he said it's too early to know what change he can bring about at the pump as energy minister.
"We have never stopped trying to find solutions," Thibeault said, "you know part of the issue is something that was talked about the federal level and some of the concerns that have been there, so I'm more than happy to continue to find ways to look at that."