In a sure sign that things are going great and everyone is perfectly happy, Doug Ford quietly conducted a massive cabinet shuffle on a Friday afternoon. It feels to me like he just shuffled it, but apparently it’s been a couple of years. Man, time moves fast.
Anyway, he made a couple of interesting choices that stick out like a bit of a sore thumb, so let’s talk about those.
Ontario Premier Doug Ford is shuffling his cabinet, with former finance minister Rod Phillips — who resigned from his post following a Caribbean vacation during the COVID-19 pandemic — returning as the new minister of long-term care.
Phillips will replace Dr. Merrilee Fullerton, who will now serve as the minister of children, community and social services.
To be clear, I’m not even all that mad that Rod Phillips is back in cabinet. I wouldn’t have put him there, but most things the PCs do fall into that category, so whatever.
What gets me upset is his position. Clearly nobody thought about the message it sends to put a guy who ignored his party’s very public policy on international travel during COVID and went to great lengths to lie about doing so in charge of the department tasked with looking after the segment of society that many feel paid COVID’s heaviest price. Or if they did think about it, they decided that the right message to send is go to hell, old people. We’ll even give you an express ticket if you’ll let the honourable member for St. Barts cough on you.
Perhaps he’ll do a wonderful job in his new role. I hope he does. But boy oh boy is this not a great look.
Speaking of which, Merrilee Fullerton.
Unless there’s something we don’t know, Rod Phillips taking her job has to be seen as an acknowledgement that she hasn’t done well. And if that’s the case, what sense does it make to take someone who failed a vulnerable sector and put her in charge of a different, yet in some ways equally vulnerable sector? From the outside looking in, a decision like that comes off as the work of either a dumb person or a leader looking to sabotage himself at the ballot box.
Whichever option you choose, it’s not good. We’ve seen far too often (especially in recent years) what happens when dumb people run things. But if this isn’t incompetence or stupidity, it’s almost worse. If you don’t want the job you have, quit. But please don’t take as many of us as possible down with you deliberately when you go.