The Federation of Northern Ontario Municipalities (FONOM) is pleased that all four Northern Liberal MPPs will hold important Cabinet portfolios as announced yesterday by Premier Kathleen Wynne at Queen’s Park.
The massive midterm Cabinet shuffle saw the addition of seven new members of the Executive Council, Ministries reconstructed and renamed, and a push for gender parity, with 40 percent of Cabinet now being represented by women.
The Honourable Michael Gravelle will remain as the Minister of Northern Development and Mines, a portfolio he has held for several years. As an MPP from Thunder Bay – Superior North, he knows the issues inside and out. “We are pleased to have the continuity of leadership within this portfolio. Minister Gravelle is a true champion for Northern Ontario and is always available to listen to our issues and concerns,” said Mayor Alan Spacek of Kapuskasing and President of FONOM.
“While we are disappointed that Minister Mauro will no longer be the Minister of Natural Resources and Forestry, a portfolio which is of utmost importance to FONOM and one that Mauro truly understands, we are pleased to have him as the Minister of Municipal Affairs,” said Spacek. The MPP for Thunder Bay – Atikokan held the portfolio for a short time in 2014 and is also a former Thunder Bay City Councillor. “We are confident he can appreciate the challenges facing municipalities, particularly in the North,” continued Spacek.
Minister David Orazietti who represents the riding of Sault Ste. Marie moves into his new role with the Ministry of Community Safety and Correctional Services. This will be a critical file moving forward as the Province has been consulting extensively in an effort to modernize the Police Services Act to reflect the current nature of policing. Policing has changed significantly since the Act was written more than two decades ago. In 2015, the Policing Modernization Task Force of the Association of Municipalities of Ontario (AMO) released a report with key recommendations to update the Police Services Act. As Chair of the Task Force, President Spacek, along with AMO, are looking forward to further discussion with the Ministry on the implementation of the recommendations.
Sudbury MPP, Glenn Thibeault, was promoted to the Executive Council with the title of Minister of Energy. Energy costs continue to hurt municipalities, families and resource based industries. “We are pleased that this portfolio will be led by a Northerner that truly understands the energy costs in our region,” says Spacek.
There were several Ministers that retained their portfolios including Minister of Health and Long-Term Care, Hon. Eric Hoskins; Minister of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs, Hon. Jeff Leal; Minister of Transportation, Hon. Steven Del Duca; Minister of Environment and Climate Change, Hon. Glen Murray; and the rebranded Ministry of Economic Development and Growth, Hon. Brad Duguid.
We are looking forward to continuing to work with Cabinet to ensure that Northern Ontario is prosperous for generations to come.