We’re not prepared to write off Premier Kathleen Wynne before she’s had a chance to right the listing ship that is Ontario.
However, while her ascendancy to the provincial throne represents a number of significant firsts – first female premier in Ontario, first female premier with a female deputy premier, first openly gay premier in Canada – the faces around her cabinet table are anything but revolutionary.
Wynne added several new faces to the mix – including that of Liz Sandals, who will tackle the education portfolio – but she also padded her bets by increasing the size of her cabinet to 27.
Familiar faces returning to cabinet Deb Matthews, who will remain as health minister while handling deputy premier duties, Jim Bradley, who will continue working with the environment portfolio, John Gerretsen, who will continue to serve as attorney-general and John Milloy, who will remain as government house leader. Ted McMeekin (Ancaster-Dundas-Flamborough-Westdale), the lone Hamilton voice at the cabinet table, has been moved from the Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs portfolio to Community and Social Services.
Also moved from previous portfolios were Harinder Takhar, (now minister of government services), Laurel Broten (moved from education to intergovernmental affairs and women’s issues), new finance minister Charles Sousa and Brad Duguid (now training, colleges and universities.
A strong crew is needed to steer the good ship Ontario through some of the key issues facing it (education, health care, OLG restructuring, to name a few) – and this cabinet certainly offers a depth of experience.
But it’s hard to forget that many of these ministers are the very ones who mapped the course we’re on now. And we’re just not sure that shuffling the deck will be enough to get us safely back to shore.
Perhaps Ontarians need to be dealt a whole new hand – from a fresh deck.