It is hard to say whether Premier Wynne used delicate chiselling tools or just a Shop Vac to fashion her new cabinet. Either way, it would be wise not to expect all its members to last the four years of her mandate. There is some testing going on in that formula and it will take a while to see how it works.
We all knew that Charles Sousa from Mississauga was going to continue as Finance Minister. That was a no-brainer but the real question is whether he can continue a left of centre budgeting stance and still come to a more balanced budget. The urgency is to continue to raise Ontario out of the doldrums rather than any mythical need to move to the right and balance the books. As a low-tax haven already, we have lots of room for more revenue generation from both old and new sources.
The good news in moving people around was to get Deb Matthews off the firing line in Health. The woman really needs to be able to show her competence without the weights around her neck from previous incompetents. As President of the Treasury Board, her strengths and weaknesses will be more obvious to her fellow cabinet members and less obvious to the public. It gives her a chance to be more useful. The only problem is that Eric Hoskins is in the hot corner of health now and obviously Premier Wynne has more confidence in his abilities than some other people. It is an interesting experiment.
Stalwarts such as Jim Bradley, Michael Gravelle and Ted McMeekin can be expected to perform well in their respective roles as chair of cabinet, northern development and municipal affairs and housing.
The amusing combination of House Leader and Correctional Institutions seems appropriate for the well liked Yasir Naqvi. Considering that almost half the Liberal caucus is in cabinet, he is going to have to ride his cabinet colleagues hard to make them pay attention to the needs in the Legislature.
A couple interesting picks are Brad Duguid returning to economic development, employment and infrastructure and Mitzi Hunter to work with Charles Sousa as an associate minister on the new Ontario pension plan. Both those portfolios have to produce for us and they will be under the gun.
Overall, it looks good. It is a much better selection now that Wynne has fewer debts to pay off. We will watch what happens.
Copyright 2014 © Peter Lowry
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