Doug Ford appoints cabinet of 21, with key roles to former leadership rivals
by Paola Loriggio, The Canadian Press
Christine Elliott and Caroline Mulroney, who ran against Ford for the PC leadership, and Vic Fedeli, the party's former interim leader, have all been given prominent posts
TORONTO—Ontario’s new Progressive Conservative government will have a cabinet of 21, including Premier Doug Ford, with key portfolios earmarked for the party’s former interim leader and Ford’s rivals for the top job.
Ford, who led the party to a sweeping victory in the provincial election earlier this month, will also take on the role of minister of intergovernmental affairs.
The position of health minister will go to Christine Elliott, who returned to politics earlier this winter after years as the province’s health ombudsman in order to run for the party leadership. She will also serve as deputy premier.
Toronto lawyer and businesswoman Caroline Mulroney, a rookie politician and another former contender for the Tory crown, has been appointed as attorney general.
Vic Fedeli, the party’s former interim leader, will serve as finance minister, a step up from his job as finance critic when the Tories were in opposition.
Ford and his cabinet—which also includes veteran PC legislators such as Lisa MacLeod and John Yakabuski, are set to be sworn in this morning in a ceremony inside the legislature.
The Progressive Conservative leader will then hold a second, public ceremony on the steps of the legislature, during which he is expected to reaffirm his oath of office and give a speech.
The Tories won a majority in this month’s election, which also saw the outgoing Liberals reduced to seven seats and the NDP propelled to official Opposition status.
Ford, a former Toronto city councillor who took the reins of the party earlier this year, campaigned largely on a promise of fiscal responsibility, though he did not present a fully costed platform.
He has not yet said when he will recall the legislature but maintains he wants to start working on his plan for the province quickly and has already set the wheels in motion on several of his proposals.
He has vowed that his first move once the legislature resumes will be to scrap the cap-and-trade system—an announcement that led to the cancellation of several green energy initiatives funded through the program.
Ford has also placed the public service under a hiring freeze, with the exception of essential frontline staff, and ordered that all discretionary spending such as meals for staff meetings be put on hold.
The Tories have also reached out to the group representing Ontario doctors to reopen contract negotiations rather than proceed to scheduled arbitration, saying they want to repair a relationship that soured under the previous regime.
During the election campaign, Ford promised to launch a line-by-line audit of government spending in order to eliminate waste, and said he will find billions in efficiencies each year without cutting jobs.