MacLeod demoted, McDonell stays on backbench as Ford shuffles cabinet

From left, Minister of Tourism, Culture and Sport Lisa MacLeod, Premier Doug Ford, and Minister of Transportation and Minister of Francophone Affairs Caroline Mulroney. Zandbergen photos, Nation Valley News

 EASTERN ONTARIO — Nepean MPP Lisa MacLeod was among the big-name demotions today as Premier Doug Ford shuffled his cabinet after a year in office and weakened support in the polls. Meanwhile, the premier did promote a few backbenchers onto the revamped front bench, although not Stormont-Dundas-South Glengarry’s Jim McDonell.

A focus of discontent since she oversaw changes to the province’s autism program at the Ministry of Children, Community and Social Services, MacLeod now finds herself suited up as Minister of Tourism, Culture and Sport.

Ford similarly changed the faces overseeing some of the other big-ticket ministries, led most of all by former Finance Minister Vic Fedeli. His stint as overseer of the Ontario treasury terminated after just 12 months, Fedeli is now Minister of Economic Development, Job Creation and Trade and Chair of Cabinet. Ontario’s new Finance Minister is Rod Phillips, who was promoted out of the Environment portfolio.

In another significant demotion, Lisa Thompson has been dropped out of Education and into the Ministry of Government and Consumer Services.

Caroline Mulroney shifts gears from Attorney General to Minister of Transportation; Mulroney also retains her role as Minister of Francophone Affairs.

Bay of Quinte MPP Todd Smith leaves the post now occupied by Fedeli to take on MacLeod’s former senior role. Also serving previously as government house leader, Smith has exercised considerable sway with the premier — even managing to shepherd special legislation that killed a partially completed wind project in his riding — separate from other renewable energy projects cancelled by the governing Tories.

While he wasn’t granted a spot at the cabinet table, local MPP Jim McDonell has lauded the moves of his leader.

“These changes will ensure that the government of Ontario will effectively continue with its agenda of creating good jobs, supporting small businesses, putting more money in people’s pockets and restoring trust and accountability in government, while also protecting what matters most through sound investments in health care and education,” the MPP said in a press release that asserts a slew of Ford government achievements in the past year: Among the highlights are a $1.3-billion increase in the health care budget, the creation of 190,000 jobs and the cancellation of “750 unnecessary and expensive renewable energy contracts to save ratepayers $790 million,” according to the MPP, who also touted the end of the Drive Clean program and the allocation of 7,000 out of 15,000 planned new long-term care beds.

Only seven ministers out of the original 21-member cabinet remain in unchanged positions after today’s shuffle. That includes Leeds-Grenville-Thousand Islands and Rideau Lakes MPP and Minister of Municipal Affairs Steve Clark.  Total cabinet membership has also swelled to 28. See the full list below.

  • Premier and Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs – Doug Ford
  • Deputy Premier and Minister of Health – Christine Elliott
  • Associate Minister of Mental Health and Addictions – Michael Tibollo
  • Minister of Long-Term Care – Merrilee Fullerton
  • Minister of Finance – Rod Phillips
  • Minister of Economic Development, Job Creation and Trade and Chair of Cabinet – Vic Fedeli
  • Associate Minister of Small Business and Red Tape Reduction – Prabmeet Sarkaria
  • Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing – Steve Clark
  • Solicitor General – Sylvia Jones
  • Minister of Environment, Conservation and Parks – Jeff Yurek
  • Minister of Children, Community and Social Services – Todd Smith  
  • Associate Minister of Children and Women’s Issues – Jill Dunlop
  • Minister of Labour – Monte McNaughton
  • Attorney General – Doug Downey
  • Minister of Transportation and Minister of Francophone Affairs – Caroline Mulroney
  • Associate Minister of Transportation (GTA) – Kinga Surma
  • Minister of Training, Colleges and Universities – Ross Romano
  • Minister of Education – Stephen Lecce
  • President of the Treasury Board – Peter Bethlenfalvy
  • Minister of Natural Resources and Forestry – John Yakabuski
  • Minister of Energy, Northern Development and Mines, and Minister of Indigenous Affairs – Greg Rickford
  • Associate Minister of Energy – Bill Walker
  • Minister for Seniors and Accessibility – Raymond Cho
  • Minister of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs – Ernie Hardeman
  • Minister of Infrastructure – Laurie Scott
  • Minister of Tourism, Culture and Sport – Lisa MacLeod
  • Minister of Government and Consumer Services – Lisa Thompson
  • Government House Leader – Paul Calandra
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