Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Assessing McGuinty's New Cabinet

So overall I think it's a good cabinet. I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t surprised about a few of the appointments, and I think pretty much all political commentators and Ontarians were, as were probably some of the appointees themselves. That’s not to say that any of them don’t have the qualifications, as I think those appointed were qualified. But needless to say, I am also disappointed that Sandals, and especially Levac, were not given an appointment as they are more than due. It is also odd to me that Levac, who while opposition was a critic, and has not given the same due in government. He is a great guy who does a good job at whatever he’s given, cares about the issues and the people, and stands up for what he believes in. Perhaps his vocalness is why he is not in the cabinet which is unfortunate.

So here’s my rundown with the good and the bad, as the party can always benefit from some constructive criticism.

The Bad:
- Intergovernmental affairs should not have gone to McGuinty, he can carry on his fights for Ontario without that portfolio so someone else should have been given a chance to shine.
- Levac and Sandals - shafted again. They've paid their dues to the party, are very popular in their ridings and worked well in committees so what gives? It makes no sense to me, they could have easily gone in place of two of the newer faces. I understand McGuinty wanted to bring in new blood, but some people have been working hard a long time and eventually they deserve to get their shot. Especially when McGuinty takes Intergovernmental affairs for himself I don't get it.
- Didn't need to dump Ramsay from cabinet (the others I can understand), he had done a pretty good job
- The ministries of Democratic Renewal or Minister Responsible for Disabilities were dropped. I can understand the reasoning for Democratic Renewal given the massive defeat of MMP, but I don't understand why he would eliminate the file on disabilities, maybe it's just as oversight on the government website and someone did get it in addition to another portfolio. I hope that doesn't mean Mcguinty will bury these as priorities
- Only 9 females in cabinet (same as last time I think). I do think after having run so many more female candidates this time and given that 7 of 10 new Liberal MPPs were women he could have had more talented females added to his cabinet (I had 11 very qualified ones in my selections)

The Good:
- McGuinty obviously took my advice for Attorney General, Finance, Health, Education, Agriculture, Community and Social Services (and Francophone Affairs), Small Business and Entrepreneurship, and Women's Issues. So that's the bulk of the top posts so it's hard not to be satisfied with that.
- I'm thrilled to see Deb Matthews in cabinet and that she not only got Women's Issues (the fact she got this was under-reported by the media) but Children and Youth Services as well. As well, she's been put in charge of putting in place targets for reducing poverty, a great focus for the government for the next session. Matthews definitely deserved it.
- I'm pleased Aboriginal Affairs was given its own portfolio and Bryant has the qualifications and background necessary to do a good job (Levac would have been great as well though, he could have also been the parliamentary assistant). I'm very pleased McGuinty is demonstrating that he is taking this file very seriously this session with this gesture.
- As I noted, both Gerry Phillips and John Gerretsen deserved promotions (even though I had a hard time finding a good place up the ladder for them) so I think it's good to see that they've both moved up to more important posts (Phillips to Energy and Gerretsen to Environment).
- Chris Bentley as well is going to make a great Attorney General and he was my pick so I'm glad to see he got it.
-John Milloy as Minister of Colleges and Universities, he’s from an appropriate riding to be given that ministry, and is a good choice. I can’t complain even though I pegged Sandals for this.

So in all, it's not a perfect line-up and I remain a bit disappointed about some people left out, but overall I know this team will do a fantastic job for the province, I know some of the new faces there really deserved it and I’m waiting to be wowed. I do hope a few more people will get their shot before the session is over though. But I do think the government has outlined the exact right priorities going in and I look forward to seeing them in action soon.

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