Ontario Premier Doug Ford announces new education minister, cabinet reshuffle

Ontario Premier Doug Ford has unveiled major changes to his cabinet after meeting with ministers on Thursday afternoon at Queen’s Park.

Stephen Lecce has been moved out of his role as education minister into a new position as the minister of energy and electrification. Todd Smith, who was previously in charge of energy, is taking over education.

Several key ministers have remained in their portfolios, with Sylvia Jones staying on as minister of health, Peter Bethlenfalvy still finance minister and Paul Calandra in charge of municipal affairs and housing.

Steve Clark, who was the province’s housing minister during the Greenbelt scandal and resigned at its height, has been made the government’s house leader.

Some new names were also added to the cabinet, including Natalia Kusendova-Bashta in long-term care and Mike Harris in red tape reduction.

Ford says economy the focus
Announcing the reshuffle, Ford said the changes come with a focus on economic growth.

“As our province and economy continue to grow, this is the team that is working side-by-side with workers, businesses, labour partners, Indigenous leaders and every member of Team Ontario to rebuild our economy,” Ford said in a statement.

“We’re at an important moment in our province’s history with clear choices. Our team is choosing growth and prosperity. We’re choosing lower taxes and better jobs with bigger paycheques. Let’s Get it Done!”Ford’s economic development minister will continue to be Vic Fedeli, who has focused particularly on securing deals with electric vehicle makers in Ontario.

Speaking to reporters after the reshuffle, Lecce said he hoped to build energy capacity in the province, with a focus on economic growth.

“We will not do that by imposing higher taxes and a higher carbon tax,” he said, leaning into the party’s talking points in opposition to a federal price on carbon introduced after Ford scrapped cap-and-trade in Ontario.

“We have to have energy to do everything,” he added. “That’s the primary focus of the government going forward: building the energy supply to build our economy. We’re going to deliver the largest infrastructure build in Canadian history.”

Sam Oosterhoff has also been added to the cabinet as an associate minister responsible for “energy-intensive industries.” Nolan Quinn is now an associate minister responsible for forestry.

A change to the former Ministry of Tourism, Culture and Sport means it will now be headed by Stan Cho as “Minister of Tourism, Culture and Gaming, with responsibility for OLG.”

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