Rookie Premier Doug Ford is shuffling his cabinet just 129 days after being sworn in, the Star has learned.
Reeling from the departure of Jim Wilson, his most senior minister who quit suddenly Friday to tackle addiction issues, Ford will make a slew of changes early Monday.
Conservatives sources said Sunday that the premier is scrambling to shuffle his cabinet.
“It’s crazy,” said one worried Tory, mindful that the moves so soon after the government had taken office will make it seem as if the fledgling administration is in chaos.
Embattled Community Safety and Corrections Ministers Michael Tibollo, whose past legal challenges have made headlines in recent days, is being demoted.
Tibollo, who represents Vaughan-Woodbridge, will be the new minister for Tourism, Culture, and Sport.
That’s a swap with Sylvia Jones, who takes over his role as solicitor general, a big promotion for the Dufferin-Caledon MPP.
Also being promoted is Natural Resources Minister Jeff Yurek, who becomes Transportation Minister. The Elgin-Middlesex-London MPP is widely seen as a calm, capable minister.
Transportation Minister John Yakabuski will assume the duties at Natural Resources. Yakabuski, who represents Renfrew-Nipissing-Pembroke, had sparred with the beat reporters who cover transportation issues, which apparently concerned the premier’s office.
Government House Leader Todd Smith will take Wilson’s old post as Economic Development and Trade Minister. Smith represents the riding of Bay of Quinte,
Coming into cabinet will be Bill Walker, the chief government whip, who takes Smith’s role as Minister of Government and Consumer Services. Walker is the MPP for Bruce-Grey-Owen Sound.
The changes were triggered by Wilson’s stunning announcement Friday night – after he had spent the day with Ford on a campaign swing to Sarnia.
A 28-year veteran Simcoe-Grey MPP, he quit cabinet to seek treatment for what friends confide is a problem with alcohol.
But in an unusual move, Wilson also resigned from the Conservative caucus and Ford has yet to issue any public statement about his colleague.
That, combined with some senior PC staff changes Friday night has many Tories concerned.