TORONTO – Finance minister Vic Fedeli is one of several high-profile ministers demoted in a major cabinet shuffle announced today by Premier Doug Ford.
The Progressive Conservative government has faced weeks of criticism after the public learned of funding cuts that were hidden in Fedeli’s April budget.
Environment minister Rod Phillips, who played a major role in the cancellation of the province’s cap-and-trade program, replaces Fedeli, who will be in charge of economic development.
Lisa MacLeod, who angered parents over her handling of the autism file as minister of children, community and social services, is taking over the tourism, culture and sport portfolio.
Another minister being demoted in the shuffle is education Minister Lisa Thompson who will be responsible for government and consumer services.
Merrilee Fullerton, who came under fire for changes to post-secondary education as minister of colleges and universities, will be responsible for long-term care. And attorney general Caroline Mulroney is being moved to transportation, but will continue to be responsible for francophone affairs.
The shuffle is also bringing huge promotions for some backbenchers – Stephen Lecce becomes minister of education, while Doug Downey becomes attorney general.
Health minister Christine Elliott, solicitor general Sylvia Jones and treasury board president Peter Bethlenfalvy are among the high-profile members of cabinet keeping their posts.
The shuffle comes just after Ford and his Tories marked the one-year anniversary of winning a majority government.
Ford has been slipping in the polls, and some suggest he could hurt Conservative leader Andrew Scheer’s chances of winning in Ontario in the October federal election.