So with the new McGuinty cabinet being installed tomorrow, I’d like to give my picks for who should get the nods for each ministry. Given that my predictive abilities weren’t proven to be so great on election night (I predicted 62 seats for the Liberals), I’m not making any predictions this time. Rather this is a list of who I think should be given each position.
Given that I don’t have in depth knowledge about every candidate who ran in the last election, forgive me if I’ve left out someone who you think really should be listed.
I’d love to hear everyone else’s picks anyways (though Tories and Dippers: if you’re to give a go pick who you think would do the best job for Ontario not who you think would be good for your party).
So here goes…
Finance Minister: Dwight Duncan (previously Greg Sorbara). Duncan was another star from the last session that deserves a promotion. He did a great job as finance minister filling in for Sorbara in the last session so I think he deserves to get that post back.
Minister of Health and Long-Term Care: George Smitherman (No change). Smitherman has been praised by most of the stakeholders for his job in health and he has said personally that he wants to keep that post so he should get to stay where he wants. I’m sure he’ll do just as good of job this session.
Minister of Education and Deputy Premier: Kathleen Wynne (No change). After her resounding victory over John Tory and the excellent job she’s done at Education, Wynne deserves whatever she wants. I think she’s indicated that she’d like to carry on at education where some tough challenges lie ahead over the next four years. She enjoys strong support among teachers and has clearly proven herself so I think she’d be the best to carry on. If she doesn’t want this position, then it would be a toss up between Dave Levac and Liz Sandals who both have lots of experience in the area of education that would make them well-suited for the job. I also think Wynne should be made Deputy Premier as a reward for her previous feats.
Minister of Energy: Michael Bryant (previously Dwight Duncan). Both Duncan and Bryant deserve promotions and new experiences to build their portfolios after the last session. Energy will be a tough file to handle, but Bryant has proved himself a very able minister so I think he’d be up for the job.
Attorney General: Chris Bentley (Previously Michael Bryant). Bentley’s done a great job on the colleges and universities file in the last session so he deserves a promotion and I think he’s got what it takes to take over for Bryant.
Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs: Aileen Carroll (Previously Marie Bountrogianni). Bountrogianni did a great job on this portfolio so with her having retired there’s some big shoes to fill. As a former federal minister and long-time Liberal MP I think Carroll has the experience necessary to do the best job here.
Minister of the Environment: Sandra Pupatello (previously Laurel Broten). Broten had encountered some controversy at environment so it makes some sense to move her somewhere else. This will be a very important portfolio for the next session so it makes sense to have someone in there with lots of experience to handle it. Pupatello I think fits the bill for that. I know some people had some misgivings about her after the Parkdale High-Park byelection but you can’t be punished forever, she’s shown herself to be quite capable as a minister so she should be placed back higher up.
Minister of Training, Colleges and Universities: Liz Sandals. I know that Liz Sandals has a strong background in education (see above), but I think given Wynne’s apparent stated preference for that portfolio, having Sandals focus on the post-secondary side of education might still be a good fit for her. I think she’d prove herself to be a great minister here and fill Bentley’s shoes well.
Minister of Aboriginal Affairs: Dave Levac (previously David Ramsay). I really think it’s about time that McGuinty adopt the recommendations of the Ipperwash Inquiry and make Aboriginal Affairs a stand-alone ministry. As well, while Levac is another great contender for education (see above), I can think of few better to fill the role of Aboriginal Affairs minister given that Levac lives in a riding so close to one of the largest reserves in Ontario and is very well versed on Native affairs. I think it’s well over due he gets into cabinet and I think this would be a great place for him to prove himself in a very difficult file.
Minister of Economic Development and Trade: Laurel Broten (previously Sandra Pupatello). Broten actually did a good job in cabinet, it’s just the controversies she encountered in her neighbourhood over the size of her garage and so on just didn’t play well with that portfolio so I think Economic Development and Trade would be a better fit.
Minister Responsible for Women’s Issues: Deb Matthews (Previously Sandra Pupatello). McGuinty has made great progress on women’s issues and was successful in meeting his promise to have one third women’s candidates. To go further, he should give the ministry for Women’s issues higher stature and make it a stand alone ministry. I think Deb Matthews would be the perfect fit for taking it over. I actually don’t think McGuinty will leave Women’s Issues as a stand alone Ministry but I think that’s what should happen and I do hope Matthews does find her way into cabinet as she’s paid her dues over the years to the party.
Minister of Northern Development and Mines: Rick Bartolucci (No change). Done a good job and the Liberals have maintained their popularity in the North, so why rock the boat.
Minister of Transportation: Donna Cansfield (No change).
Minister of Public Infrastructure Renewal and Government House Leader: David Caplan (No change, promoted to House Leader). This remains an important portfolio in accomplishing McGuinty’s ambitious transit plan. Caplan can keep up his work there and I think he can also be promoted to House Leader (from deputy House Leader)
Minister of Children and Youth Services: Helena Jaczek (Previous Mary Anne Chambers: retired). This is a very important portfolio and someone accomplished has to replace Chambers. Helena Jaczek has gained tremendous experience outside of politics that would suit her well for many different portfolios, but I think this would be good place to put her mind to use. As well, it would be injecting some new blood in McGuinty’s cabinet and showing his commitment to boosting female representation.
Minister of Revenue: Michael Chan (No change)
Minister of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs: Leona Dombrowsky(No change). Leona has had some tough battles over the last 4 years (like Randy Hillier sending her a dead deer’s head named “Leona” as a threat), but I think she’d earned the right to stay on.
Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing: John Gerretsen (No change). I kind of feel like Gerretsen deserves a promotion but I can’t think of anyone higher up than him who deserves to be demoted so he can move up (I guess it depends on what you consider a “promotion” though). Still this is an important file and I think there’s much more work to be done on it.
Minister of Community Safety and Correctional Services: Monte Kwinter (No change).
Minister of Research and Innovation and Minister Responsible for Democratic Renewal: Sophia Aggelonitis. (Previously McGuinty in Research and Innovation and Bountrogianni in Democratic Renewal). I think McGuinty can afford to pass off the Research and Innovation portfolio off to someone new. I also think the new individual can pick up where Bountrogianni left off on the issue of democratic renewal (electoral reform may be off the table for some time, but democratic renewal in the legislature is still important). Sophia has experience running a small business and as an entrepreneur and has great ties to the business community so I think she’s a great fit for research and innovation and she would be a new face to promote democratic renewal at the same time.
Minister of Community and Social Services, Minister Responsible for Ontarians with Disabilities, Minister Responsible for Francophone Affairs: Madeleine Meilleur (No change). These are all key portfolios in my book, and while I’m tempted to say Jaczek should be given Community and Social Services, Meilleur has handled the portfolio well and hasn’t had it long enough (has only had it since 2006) to be already moved on to something else so she should keep it.
Minister of Labour: Steve Peters (No change)
Minister of Government Services and Minister of Citizenship and Immigration: Gerry Phillips (No change). Philllips is someone else who likely deserves a promotion, but McGuinty just happens to have a really strong team so I think he could just stay where he is, but I won’t be surprised if McGuinty does move him up the ladder.
Minister of Natural Resources Minister: David Ramsay (No change). Has done a great job in both his portfolios and given that I think that Aboriginal Affairs needs to be sectioned off then I think Ramsay can devote more of his efforts to his other file that he’s managed well so far.
Minister of Small Business and Entrepreneurship: Harinder Takhar (No change). Takhar handled transportation well and has managed this newer portfolio well too. It hasn’t existed very long so he can continue with it.
Minister of Health Promotion: Jim Watson. I think Watson enjoys this portfolio and has done a good job at it so I see no problems keeping him where he is.
Minister of Culture: Reza Moridi (previously Caroline Di Coco). As the first ever Iranian MPP and someone with a very accomplished background I think he’d be a great replacement for Di Cocco (who went down to defeat) in Culture. I think this would send a great message to put him in charge of Culture to show how McGuinty wants to keep promoting an inclusive Ontario (as opposed to the messy debate going on in Quebec which is moving unfortunately somewhat in the other direction). If Moridi doesn’t get culture perhaps he could get research and innovation given the awards he’s won in science.
So if these picks end up even remotely right the only logical conclusion is that the Premier’s Office must read this blog and took my advice :).
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