It’s official. This morning, the new provincial government has been sworn into office. Here are Ford’s 21 cabinet picks for the Ontario PC government:
- Christine Elliot: Deputy Premier & Minister of Health and Long-Term Care
- Caroline Mulroney – Attorney-General & Minister Responsible for Francophone Affairs
- Victor Fedeli – Minister of Finance & Chair of Cabinet
- Rod Phillips – Minister of the Environment, Conservation and Parks
- John Yakabuski – Minister of Transportation
- Greg Rickford – Minister of Energy, Northern Development and Mines & Minister of Indigenous Affairs
- Michael Tibollo – Minister of Community Safety and Correctional Safety
- Steve Clark – Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing
- Lisa Thompson – Minister of Education
- Peter Bethlenfalvy — President of the Treasury Board
- Raymond Cho — Minister for Seniors and Accessibility
- Merrilee Fullerton — Minister of Training, Colleges and Universities
- Ernie Hardeman, Minister of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs
- Sylvia Jones — Minister of Tourism, Culture and Sport
- Lisa MacLeod — Minister of Children, Community and Social Services & Minister Responsible for Women’s Issues
- Monte McNaughton — Minister of Infrastructure
- Laurie Scott — Minister of Labour
- Todd Smith — Minister of Government and Consumer Services & Government House Leader
- Jim Wilson — Minister of Economic Development, Job Creation and Trade
- Jeff Yurek — Minister of Natural Resources and Forestry
Ford’s picks reads like a list of the who’s who of provincial Conservative politics. Among them, former leadership opponents: Christine Elliot and Caroline Mulroney.
Despite a more down to earth and for-the-people campaign, it seems Ford has opted to consolidate the higher ranks within the formerly fragmented party.
Giving Elliot the top position in Health care and appointing Mulroney as attorney-general signals a united front but also might leave a few voters grumbling about elitism and the usual “nothing is going to change in Queens Park.”
During his election campaign, Ford promised to appoint a farmer to cabinet as Minister of Agriculture.
But did he deliver on this promise, with the appointment of Oxford-MPP Ernie Hardeman?
Hardeman is a political veteran who has served as a minister in two former governments, first as Minister of Agriculture and Food in 1999 and then as Associate Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing in 2003. Looking at his career one definitely notes a rural appeal.
MPP Hardeman is a municipal man, investing a lifetime in local politics. He served for 25 years as a volunteer firefighter and retired as Captain in South-West Oxford.
Regarding his ties to farming, he owned and operated Hardeman Feed Limited for approximately 30 years before taking on a more active role in provincial politics.
It seems in many ways that Hardeman fits the bill in both experience and rural appeal.
Another minister to keep an eye on in the coming few months will be MPP Lisa Thompson, appointed as Minister of Education.
It is yet to be seen how Thompson, who has a background in public administration and agriculture, will deal with the sensitive and tangled issue of the sex-ed curriculum.
During a May Huron-Bruce candidate debate, Thompson expressed that not enough parents were consulted regarding the curriculum and that a PC government would work to reign back the curriculum to a prior point.
She also appeared alongside Premier Doug Ford earlier that month at Sheraton Center, Toronto where he vowed to scrap the current curriculum.
Time to Get to Work
For now, all eyes are on Ford and his new cabinet. Empowered by a majority government, the PCs have little to no time, beside today’s ceremony, to absorb the limelight of their success as many voters expect both accountability and a fresh start.