TORONTO - Lisa Thompson, MPP for Huron-Bruce, former education minister and most recently, government and consumer services minister, has been named the new minister of agriculture.
She replaces long-time agriculture minister Ernie Hardeman as part of a cabinet shuffle that saw several cabinet ministers take on new portfolios.
“I am humbled to be given this new post and I pledge to Ontario’s agri-food sector and rural communities that I will work hard on their behalf,” Thompson said in a press release on June 19.
“I am honoured to take on the responsibility of Ontario’s Minister of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs. I look forward to working side-by-side with Ontario’s farmers, commodity organizations, processing sector and our rural communities.”
Some rural cabinet ministers are no longer in cabinet, among them Bill Walker, MPP Bruce-Grey-Owen Sound and former associate minister of energy. A number of cabinet newcomers have been given portfolios as part of the shuffle.
A press release from the office of Premier Doug Ford spoke of the changes in terms of growth and renewal in the post-COVID rebuilding of the province. “Our renewed team is well positioned to deliver on the priorities that matter to Ontarians, including getting more people back to work, making life more affordable, supporting businesses and job creators and building transit infrastructure,” said Ford.
A press release from the Ontario Federation of Agriculture said the shuffle has resulted in eight officials moving ministries, seven newly appointed to ministries and five moved out of cabinet.
It’s being described as preparing for the provincial election, now only a year away, by creating a younger, more geographically diverse cabinet.
The OFA commended Hardeman for the way he has been “a champion of the (agricultural) industry and our rural communities … a true advocate for agriculture and rural Ontario.” The OFA further said it looks forward to working with Thompson, who “has a valuable understanding of farm and rural issues.”
The full list of changes is as follows:
• Jill Dunlop, MPP for Simcoe North, becomes minister of colleges and universities.
• Dr. Merrilee Fullerton, MPP for Kanata-Carleton, becomes minister of children, community and social services.
• Parm Gill, MPP for Milton, becomes minister of citizenship and multiculturalism.
• Rod Phillips, MPP for Ajax, becomes minister of long-term care.
• Dave Piccini, MPP for Northumberland-Peterborough South, becomes minister of environment.
• Greg Rickford, MPP for Kenora-Rainy River, assumes a merged role as minister of northern development, mining, natural resources and forestry, as well as Indigenous affairs. This new northern and economic focused ministry will enhance development potential and sustainability in the North. Energy will transfer to a new separate ministry.
• Todd Smith, MPP for Bay of Quinte, becomes minister of energy.
• Ross Romano, MPP for Sault Ste. Marie, becomes minister of government and consumer services.
• Prabmeet Singh Sarkaria, MPP for Brampton South, becomes president of the treasury board.
• Kinga Surma, MPP for Etobicoke Centre, becomes minister of infrastructure.
• Lisa Thompson, MPP for Huron Bruce, becomes minister of agriculture, food and rural affairs.
• Stan Cho, MPP for Willowdale, becomes associate minister of transportation, reporting to Transportation Minister Caroline Mulroney.
• Jane McKenna, MPP for Burlington, becomes associate minister of children and women’s issues, reporting to Fullerton.
• Nina Tangri, MPP for Mississauga Streetsville, becomes associate minister of small business and red tape, reporting to Minister of Economic Development, Job Creation and Trade Vic Fedeli.
• Kaleed Rasheed, MPP for Mississauga East-Cooksville, becomes associate minister of digital government, reporting to Finance Minister Peter Bethlenfalvy.
• Bethlenfalvy, MPP for Pickering-Uxbridge and minister of finance, will assume responsibility for Ontario’s digital government strategy within the ministry of finance.
Pauline Kerr, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Walkerton Herald Times