SW On­tario ex­pected to be rep­re­sented in Ford’s cab­i­net

The London Free Press - - ONTARIO - dan­brown@post­media.com twit­ter.com/DanatLFPress DAN BROWN THE LON­DON FREE PRESS

Which MPPs will Doug Ford pick to rep­re­sent South­west­ern On­tario when he names his cab­i­net? It’s im­pos­si­ble to pre­dict, ex­perts say, be­cause choos­ing a cab­i­net is more of an art than a sci­ence.

But re­gional rep­re­sen­ta­tion will be a fac­tor in the pre­mier-des­ig­nate’s choices, they agree.

“Geog­ra­phy’s al­ways played a role. Over the years, I’ve ex­am­ined this and it’s al­ways played out,” Peter Wol­s­ten­croft, a re­tired Uni­ver­sity of Water­loo po­lit­i­cal sci­ence pro­fes­sor, said of how a newly minted On­tario pre­mier will take the prov­ince’s map into ac­count when slot­ting MPPs into the dif­fer­ent cab­i­net port­fo­lios.

“One fac­tor that’s al­ways been steady has been re­gional rep­re­sen­ta­tion,” echoed the Uni­ver­sity of Toronto’s Nel­son Wise­man.

Wol­s­ten­croft said his sources tell him Ford will ap­point a stream­lined cab­i­net. “I think the bar is higher,” he added. “There are a fair num­ber of (Pro­gres­sive) Con­ser­va­tives to call upon.”

El­gin-Mid­dle­sex-Lon­don’s Jeff Yurek may be in a good po­si­tion since he is the only Tory MPP in the area with ties to the For­est City. “I would ex­pect that Yurek would rep­re­sent Lon­don,” Wol­s­ten­croft said.

Yurek ac­quit­ted him­self well in his role as health critic while in op­po­si­tion. His sta­tus as a small-busi­ness owner of a phar­macy might also make him ap­peal­ing. “You want some­one (in cab­i­net) whose got links to the busi­ness com­mu­nity,” Wise­man pointed out.

Ford did give some hints about his think­ing on the ideal pro­file of cab­i­net mem­bers while on the cam­paign trail here, telling lo­cal crowds he would want some­one with farm­ing ex­pe­ri­ence in the agri­cul­ture slot.

“Agri­cul­ture al­ways thinks they’re spe­cial. It’s al­ways a good talk­ing point,” Wol­s­ten­croft said.

That might mean some­one like HuronBruce’s Lisa Thomp­son will be tapped for cab­i­net duty. “Lisa Thomp­son (is) an ob­vi­ous ap­pointee,” Wol­s­ten­croft, a long­time Queen’s Park watcher, added.

When Ford first vis­ited our city after win­ning the PC lead­er­ship, he was hosted here by Yurek, Monte Mc­Naughton (LambtonKent-Mid­dle­sex) and Bob Bai­ley (Sar­ni­aLambton). As a former lead­er­ship hope­ful with pull among so­cial con­ser­va­tives, Mc­Naughton — a former critic for eco­nomic devel­op­ment — could get the nod.

Re­ward­ing cer­tain ar­eas for sup­port­ing the Tories in the June 7 provin­cial vote may also play a part in Ford’s de­ci­sions, so Wise­man and Wol­s­ten­croft ex­pect a num­ber of GTA ap­pointees will be in the mix — but not too many.

It would be a po­lit­i­cal “dis­as­ter” if Ford over-re­wards the Big Smoke, Wol­s­ten­croft be­lieves. “There would be a lot of un­happy peo­ple.”

“You can’t have ev­ery­body from Toronto. You can’t have ev­ery­body from out­side of Toronto,” Wise­man agreed.

Nor is re­gional rep­re­sen­ta­tion the only fac­tor the former Toronto city coun­cil­lor will take into ac­count.

“In re­cent years, a new con­sid­er­a­tion has been di­ver­sity in terms of eth­nic­ity, race and gen­der,” Wise­man said. A po­lit­i­cal leader also has to take into ac­count ex­pe­ri­ence — in the leg­is­la­ture and be­yond, he said.

“To me, the in­ter­est­ing ques­tion is: How many of the un­known new­bies does he go with? Does Doug Ford care about op­tics? Is he pre­pared to make a hard call?” Wol­s­ten­croft said.


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