Wynne shuf­fles cab­i­net af­ter Mur­ray’s de­par­ture

The Hamilton Spectator - - CANADA & WORLD - ALLISON JONES

TORONTO — On­tario’s premier had to shuf­fle a few mem­bers of her cab­i­net Mon­day as her en­vi­ron­ment min­is­ter an­nounced his res­ig­na­tion.

En­vi­ron­ment Min­is­ter Glen Mur­ray, who im­ple­mented On­tario’s am­bi­tious cap-and trade pro­gram aimed at re­duc­ing green­house gas emis­sions, said he is leav­ing his cab­i­net po­si­tion im­me­di­ately to be­come ex­ec­u­tive di­rec­tor of the Pem­bina In­sti­tute, an en­vi­ron­men­tal think tank, ef­fec­tive Sept. 5. He will re­sign his Toronto Cen­tre seat on Sept. 1.

Chris Bal­lard, who had been serv­ing as On­tario’s hous­ing min­is­ter, was made en­vi­ron­ment min­is­ter, and for­mer Toronto coun­cil­lor Peter Mil­czyn was pro­moted to cab­i­net to take over at hous­ing.

Mur­ray’s an­nounce­ment came as a sur­prise, as he had in­di­cated just months ago that he would run again in next year’s pro­vin­cial elec­tion. But Premier Kath­leen Wynne dis­missed sug­ges­tions his de­par­ture is re­lated to the Lib­er­als’ elec­toral prospects, which polls in­di­cate are hurt­ing.

“I do not see this as a vote of non­con­fi­dence,” she said. “I see this as an in­di­vid­ual hav­ing to make a de­ci­sion about his life and he is a friend and I wish him well.”

A for­mer mayor of Win­nipeg, Mur­ray was first elected to the On­tario leg­is­la­ture in 2007 and served as min­is­ter of re­search and in­no­va­tion and min­is­ter of train­ing, col­leges and uni­ver­si­ties un­der then-premier Dal­ton McGuinty. He de­vel­oped a rep­u­ta­tion around the leg­is­la­ture for im­pas­sioned de­fences of en­vi­ron­men­tal pol­icy, a will­ing­ness to opine on the topic at length, and an ea­ger­ness to take on crit­ics.

Wynne said she would not be call­ing a Toronto Cen­tre by­elec­tion with just nine months be­fore the start of a pro­vin­cial elec­tion cam­paign. “There is a sig­nif­i­cant cost associated with run­ning by­elec­tions,” she said. “We’re mov­ing into that pe­riod well within a year of a gen­eral elec­tion, and his­tor­i­cally there has been a prac­tice when you get that close it’s not nec­es­sar­ily re­spon­si­ble to call a by­elec­tion, so we won’t be do­ing that.”

Wynne also an­nounced Mon­day that fran­co­phone af­fairs will be­come a stand­alone min­istry. Marie-France Lalonde, the cor­rec­tions min­is­ter, who is al­ready re­spon­si­ble for the file, will be­come the min­is­ter of fran­co­phone af­fairs.


Premier Kath­leen Wynne with En­vi­ron­ment Min­is­ter Glen Mur­ray in June.

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