New Ontario Cabinet unveiled
The new provincial Cabinet was sworn in last week. Comprised entirely of re-elected previous Cabinet members, the group of Ministers join together to form the smallest Cabinet in Ontario since 1998 and feature two officials elected from Northern Ontario—MPP Michael Gravelle who will serve as Natural Resources and Forestry Minister and MPP Rick Bartolucci who will now act on the region’s behalf as the Minister of Northern Development and Mines. With 22 members, down from 28, the new Cabinet is pegged to guide the province by focusing on job creation and economic growth.
“Around the world, there are signs of growing economic uncertainty,” said newly re-elected Ontario Premier Dalton McGuinty. “Our experienced Cabinet will bring strong, steady leadership to Ontario’s economy.”
While the latest Cabinet may be comprised solely with familiar faces, MPP responsibilities have shuffled with a number of elected officials taking on unfamiliar posts or plunging back into ministries where they held court many years ago. Dwight Duncan remains Minister of Finance but tacks on Deputy Premier to his title and Deb Matthews has also resumed her role as Minister of Health and Long-Term Care for example while MPP Bartolucci returns to a position of power in the North.
Born and raised in Sudbury, Bartolucci is no stranger to provincial politics and was re-elected in his riding this month for a fifth term in the Ontario legislature. Appointed Minister of Northern Development and Mines (MNDM)—formerly the Ministry of Northern Development, Mines and Forestry—and Chair of Cabinet on October 20, 2011, Minister Bartolucci has vacated his latest post as Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing to return to the MNDM where he served as Minister from 2003 to 2007.
With his former post now in the hands of his northern neighbour, Thunder Bay-Superior North MPP Michael Gravelle will hold on to the forestry segment of his previous portfolio taking the reins of the newly renamed Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry. First elected to the Ontario legislature in 1995 representing the riding of Port Arthur, Gravelle has served as the Minister of Northern Development, Mines and Forestry, Government Caucus Chair and as a member of the Priorities and Planning Board and is ready to work with the province on matters related to forest management and endangered species.
Pleased to see continued northern representation at Ontario legislature, Northern Ontario Municipal Association (NOMA) President Mayor Ron Nelson welcomed the appointment of Gravelle and Bartolucci on behalf of the region. Representing the interests of municipalities from Kenora and Rainy River in the west to Hornepayne and Wawa in the east, NOMA provides leadership in advocating regional interests to all orders of government and other organizations and, according to Nelson, is eager to work with both Minister Bartolucci and Minister Gravelle. “NOMA has worked hard to develop a constructive relationship with the Liberal Government over the past 8 years,” said Nelson. “We are eager to work with Minister Bartolucci to quickly move forward with the implementation of the Growth Plan for Northern Ontario that was started by Minister Gravelle. We trust that an announcement regarding the next stage of development of the Northern Policy Institute will be forthcoming to ensure that policies for the North are based on research conducted in the North under the supervision of Northerners. We also look forward to continuing to work with Minister Gravelle on important matters related to forest management and endangered species.”