Premier Doug Ford, faced with the sudden resignation of Economic Development Minister Jim Wilson to battle addiction, has opted to shuffle other cabinet ministers as well as filling the vacancy. Ford called it an opportunity to “calibrate cabinet assignments” but you don’t have to read far between the lines to see why the changes are being made.
Two ministers who recently ran into public relations problems have been shifted to lower profile portfolios. Michael Tibollo, under scrutiny around lawsuits stemming from his pre-politics legal practice, trades places with Sylvia Jones, who takes over Community Safety and Correctional Services while Tibollo moves to the less contentious Tourism, Culture and Sport. John Yakabuski, who has reportedly run afoul of some transportation reporters, swaps with Jeff Yurek, the latter helming Transportation while Yakabuski goes to Natural Resources and Forestry.
Bruce Grey-Owen Sound MPP Bill Walker, who didn’t even have Parliamentary Assistant duties in the first round of assignments, gets promoted all the way to cabinet as Minister of Government and Consumer Services, replacing Todd Smith, the Government House Leader who now also assumes Wilson’s old job at Economic Development, Job Creation and Trade.
Two more backbench appointments will see Lorne Coe take over as Government Caucus Whip, assisted by Doug Downey as Deputy Government Caucus Whip.
Updated Ontario Legislative Highlights charts listing MPP responsibilities and government contacts are now available. Click on the following links to download: