The new major minority cabinet in Ontario ..

Oct 20th, 2011 | By | Category: In Brief

[UPDATED 4 PM]. Here is the new “Ontario Liberal Cabinet” that will be sworn in today, in the wake of the October 6, 2011 provincial election. It has a lean 22 members, down by six from its immediate predecessor’s 28:

* Dalton McGuinty: Premier, Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs
* Jim Bradley: Minister of the Environment
* Rick Bartolucci: Minister of Northern Development and Mines, Chair of Cabinet
* Dwight Duncan: Minister of Finance, Deputy Premier
* John Gerretsen: Attorney General
* Chris Bentley: Minister of Energy

* Madeleine Meilleur: Minister of Community Safety & Correctional Services, Minister Responsible for Francophone Affairs
* Harinder Takhar: Minister of Government Services
* Kathleen Wynne: Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing, Minister of Aboriginal Affairs
* Michael Chan: Minister of Tourism and Culture
* Michael Gravelle: Minister of Natural Resources

* Brad Duguid: Minister of Economic Development and Innovation
* Deb Matthews: Minister of Health and Long Term Care
* John Milloy: Minister of Community and Social Services, Government House Leader
* Margarett Best: Minister of Consumer Services
* Laurel Broten: Minister of Education, Minister of Women’s Issues

* Linda Jeffrey: Minister of Labour, Minister Responsible for Seniors
* Eric Hoskins:  Minister of Children and Youth Services
* Glen Murray:  Minister of Training, Colleges and Universities
* Bob Chiarelli: Minister of Transportation, Minister of Infrastructure
* Charles Sousa: Minister of Citizenship and Immigration
* Ted McMeekin: Minister of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs

The more or less official advance announcement stresses how this is “an experienced Cabinet that will guide Ontario through global uncertainty by focusing on building a strong Ontario economy … Ontario Liberals know that a strong economy supports the schools that teach our children and the hospitals that heal our families … A strong economy supports the roads we drive on, the communities we live in and the services we depend on, every day … A strong economy creates the good jobs that provide for our families and gives us the confidence we need to get through difficult times … And a strong economy supports a good quality of life for all Ontarians — so it is also a means to that higher end that inspires our greatest efforts: a caring society.”

For some initial hasty reaction see: “Bentley moves to Energy, Finance Minister Duncan deputy premier in shuffle” ; “Sources Reveal McGuinty Cabinet One Day Early” ; “McGuinty to unveil slimmed cabinet” ; and “McGuinty announces new, leaner cabinet.”

As of this moment, the McGuinty Liberals still have only 53 seats — one seat short of the barest of majorities in the 107-seat Ontario Legislative Assembly. It seems that they will be trying to follow the old Bill Davis minority government management model of 1975–1981, leaning intermittently on one or the other (or both) opposition parties to get their necessary legislative agenda passed. Some observers are also apparently still wondering about opposition defections, to bolster Liberal strength in the Assembly. On all this see: “Is majority still in reach?” ; “McGuinty not waiting for defectors to tip balance” ; and Graham Murray’s Inside Queen’s Park note on “Managing the Minority” in ontarionewswatch.com.

The Premier himself has said: “My Cabinet colleagues and I, together with our Ontario Liberal Caucus, will lead with humility, hard work, and with relentless determination and focus to build a better, stronger Ontario for the future … We will continue to move forward.”

UPDATE 4 PM: See “McGuinty open to ‘constructive’ options from opposition parties.”  And note that New Democrat House Leader Gilles Bisson (Timmins-James Bay) has  “said the NDP will ‘put our best foot forward’ in working co-operatively in the minority Legislature and credited the premier for backing off earlier talk that left opposition parties with the impression they were being marginalized … ‘I think there has been a bit of a rethink on the part of Mr. McGuinty and his government. Initially, he came out a bit bolder than he needed to be. I think upon reflection he started to realize where we are at.'” Who knows? Maybe we will finally have the old Bill Davis model with at least a bit of a 1985 Liberal-NDP Accord tilt at Queen’s Park over the next while? (And see as well: “Walkom: A plan to unite the ‘left’ that just might work.”)

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