Ontario Premier Doug Ford is naming Rod Phillips, who beforehand resigned after taking a Caribbean trip in the course of the COVID-19 pandemic, because the province’s new long-term care minister, changing Dr. Merrilee Fullerton.
The announcement is a part of a broader shuffle that sees 15 PC MPPs both shifting ministerial positions or becoming a member of the cupboard and it comes lower than a yr earlier than the following provincial election.
Elizabeth Dowdeswell, Ontario’s lieutenant governor, presided over a digital ceremony at Queen’s Park on Friday — a primary within the province’s historical past — as new cupboard members had been sworn in from their houses or workplaces.
“As we proceed our work to rebuild and assist Ontario’s well being system, our renewed group is nicely positioned to ship on the priorities that matter to Ontarians, together with getting extra individuals again to work, making life extra reasonably priced, supporting companies and job creators and constructing transit infrastructure,” Ford stated in a quick assertion Friday afternoon.
For months opposition politicians and long-term care advocates have been calling for Fullerton’s resignation over her dealing with of the long-term care portfolio in the course of the pandemic. A scathing report by the Ontario Lengthy-Time period Care COVID-19 fee discovered Ontario’s nursing houses had been uncared for and unprepared for a pandemic.
Nevertheless, Fullerton stays within the cupboard as the brand new minister of youngsters, group and social companies, changing Todd Smith as he turns into the brand new minister of power.
As lately as Might, Ford defended Fullerton’s efficiency, saying he had “full confidence” in her and that she “confirmed management.”
Phillips, who beforehand served as Ontario’s finance minister, resigned on the finish of 2020 after it was discovered he was vacationing in St. Barts.
With regards to different modifications, David Piccini turns into minister of setting, changing Jeff Yurek, and Kinga Surma is changing Laurie Scott as minister of infrastructure.
Prabmeet Singh Sarkaria is the brand new president of the treasury board, which has been break up from the finance file, whereas Lisa Thompson replaces Ernie Hardeman in agriculture, meals and rural affairs.
Yurek, Scott and Hardeman, who characterize rural Ontario ridings, had been dropped from the cupboard.
Well being Minister Christine Elliott, Schooling Minister Steven Lecce, Solicitor Common Sylvia Jones, Legal professional Common Doug Downey and Finance Minister Peter Bethlenfalvy stay of their distinguished positions.
In the meantime, John Yakabuski is out as minister of pure assets, as that file goes to Greg Rickford, who’s taking over a merged file as minister of northern growth, mining, pure assets and Forestry, in addition to Indigenous affairs.
Different new cupboard members included Parm Gill (minister of citizenship and multiculturalism), Stan Cho (affiliate minister of transportation), Jane McKenna (affiliate minister of youngsters and girls’s points), Nina Tangri (affiliate minister of small enterprise and crimson tape) and Kaleed Rasheed (affiliate minister of digital authorities).
When requested for response to the announcement, Ontario NDP deputy chief Sara Singh raised concern about Phillips’ new function, saying households affected by the pandemic’s toll on long-term care are searching for accountability. Singh stated Phillips’ trip scandal suggests he isn’t the appropriate match.
“I feel it doesn’t restore religion for households who wish to be certain that our long-term care system goes to be improved,” Singh stated, who additionally criticized Fullerton’s new function.
“We noticed practically 4,000 seniors and workers lose their lives beneath her management,” she stated. “I’m very apprehensive for households of youngsters with autism, households with kids in care. Are they going to get the assist that they want?”
The Ontario Liberal Celebration highlighted the retention of ministers who had been key gamers within the authorities’s pandemic response, notably in training and well being.
“By leaving Christine Elliott and Stephen Lecce in place, Ford is rewarding the 2 folks that share duty with him for one of the incompetent responses to COVID-19 within the western world,” Liberal Stephen Blais stated.
Inexperienced Celebration of Ontario chief Mike Schreiner accused Ford of specializing in the 2022 election versus pandemic restoration.
“Enjoying musical chairs won’t repair the general public well being, financial and environmental crises this province faces,” he stated in an announcement.
The union representing elementary lecturers additionally criticized the choice to maintain Lecce in his put up.
“By maintaining Minister Lecce in his function as minister of training, a minister who has not engaged with educators and their unions in a significant means since March 2020, Premier Ford has as soon as once more confirmed his disregard for public training,” it stated in an announcement.
— With recordsdata from The Canadian Press
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