Cabinet shuffle leaves southwestern Ontario in the shadows
It was a new beginnings for the Trudeau Liberals Wednesday as the new cabinet held its first meeting in Ottawa. But a decision to not include any representation from southwestern Ontario is being met with candid criticism.
“I am disappointed that we don’t have a regional minister that represents the interests and the people of southwestern Ontario. I’m actually somewhat surprised,” says London, Ont. Mayor Ed Holder, who was the last federal cabinet minister from London when he served under then prime minister Stephen Harper.
Sarnia, Ont. Mayor Mike Bradley says he understands it’s difficult to appease all in these decisions, but seeing 14 members of cabinet in the Greater Toronto Area and zero from this region is unthinkable.
“The prime minister has eliminated representation at the cabinet table for 2.5 million people. That’s just wrong, fundamentally wrong.”
Bradley had hoped London North Centre MP Peter Fragiskatos would get tapped for a cabinet seat this time around.
“Peter is an excellent MP, we talk regularly, he’s got a good intellect, and he understands and has respect for other communities that are not represented by the Liberal Party,” says Bradley.
Fragiskatos is starting his third term as MP for London North Centre and was a member of the National Security and Intelligence Committee of Parliamentarians as well as serving in several committee roles over the past five years.
“I understand and agree with the expectation that people will have in this region that there be a southwestern Ontario voice represented at the cabinet table,” says Fragiskatos. “At the same time I’m going to continue to advocate for our city and region as I always have.”
Former Libearl MP Kate Young held a parliamentary secretary position before announcing she would not seek re-election earlier this year. Holder believes this could be a route the government takes to give that voice to the region.
“I think it’s critically important that parliamentary secretaries be recognized here in London because that will carry a voice in Ottawa.”
The Liberals have eight elected MPs in the 519 area code from Kitchener to Windsor.