Delayed by the summer legislative session, Andrea Horwath announced critic roles for the New Democratic Party caucus.
All 40 MPPs in Ontario’s largest official opposition since 1985 were granted roles in the shadow cabinet, including two dozen rookie MPPs, alongside long-time Queen’s Park veterans.
Rather than mapping caucus responsibilities directly to Premier Ford’s cabinet, New Democrat critics were assigned to the party’s priority areas. For instance, the party named stand-alone critics for transit, indigenous reconciliation, youth engagement and climate change.
Among the high-profile roles, caucus stalwarts Catherine File (Waterloo) was given responsibility for jobs and innovation; Peter Tabuns (Toronto-Danforth) was given the crucial energy and climate change files; Peggy Sattler (London West) will be watching economic development and France Gélinas (Nickel Belt) stays with the health portfolio where she has built a solid reputation.
A few new MPPs landed in important roles. Former credit union executive Sandy Shaw (Hamilton West-Ancaster-Dundas) was named critic for finance and treasury board; former Toronto school board trustee Marit Stiles (Davenport) was put in the education portfolio and health care advocate Sol Mamakwa (Kiiwetinoong) is responsible for indigenous relations and reconciliation.
Signalling priorities for the party, Horwath named Gurratan Singh (Brampton East) as critic for auto insurance, Jessica Bell (University-Rosedale) critic for transit, and Bhutila Karpoche (Parkdale-High Park) responsible for mental health and addictions in the province.
In caucus leadership positions, long time MPP Gilles Bisson (Timmins) will be house leader, and Horwath named two deputy leaders: veteran John Vanthof (Timiskaming-Cochrane) and new MPP Sara Singh (Brampton Centre), signalling the North and 905 belt as key regions for the party.
The caucus is now in the process of staffing up MPPs’ Queen’s Park and constituency offices. The office of the leader of the official opposition operates with a skeleton staff for now. Key staff already in place for Horwath are Michael Balagus, Chief of Staff; Alex Callahan, Director of Stakeholder Relations; Erin Morrison, Director of Communications; and Elliott Anderson (formerly policy director at ACTRA) will be leading strategy in the OLO.
Stakeholder outreach is a new operational priority for Horwath and her team. There is a recognition that the NDP’s enlarged role in the legislature will require productive and respectful relationships with not just traditional NDP partners in education, health, labour, municipal and the not-for-profit sector, but also with sectors without party dialogue in the past.
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- Andrea Horwath, Leader and Intergovernmental Affairs
- Jill Andrew, Culture
- Teresa Armstrong, Deputy House Leader and Home Care and Long Term Care
- Ian Arthur, Environment and Sustainability
- Doly Begum, Early Learning and Childcare
- Jessica Bell, Transit
- Rima Berns-McGown, Poverty and Homelessness
- Gilles Bisson, House Leader
- Guy Bourgouin, Francophone Affairs; and Training, Trades and Apprenticeships
- Jeff Burch, Municipal Affairs
- Catherine Fife, Jobs, Employment, Research and Innovation
- Jennifer French, Infrastructure, Transportation and Highways
- Wayne Gates, Health and Safety; WSIB
- France Gélinas, Chief Whip and Health Care
- Chris Glover, Colleges and Universities
- Lisa Gretzky, Community and Social Services
- Joel Harden, Accessibility and Persons with Disabilities; Pensions; Seniors’ Affairs
- Faisal Hassan, Youth Engagement
- Percy Hatfield, OLG and Horse Racing
- Bhutila Karpoche, Deputy Whip; Mental Health and Addictions
- Terence Kernaghan, LGBTQ Issues
- Laura Mae Lindo, Anti-Racism; Citizenship and Immigration Services
- Sol Mamakwa, Indigenous Relations and Reconciliation
- Michael Mantha, Northern Development and Mines
- Paul Miller, Tourism and Sport
- Judith Monteith-Farrell, Natural Resources and Forestry
- Suze Morrison, Housing; Women’s Issues
- Taras Natyshak, International Trade
- Tom Rakocevic, Government Services and Consumer Protection
- Peggy Sattler, Economic Development
- Sandy Shaw, Finance and Treasury Board
- Sara Singh, Deputy Leader; Attorney General
- Gurratan Singh, Auto Insurance
- Jennie Stevens, Veterans, Legions and Military Affairs
- Marit Stiles, Education
- Peter Tabuns, Energy and Climate Change
- Monique Taylor, Children and Youth Services
- John Vanthof, Deputy Leader, Agriculture and Food, Rural Development
- Jamie West, Labour
- Kevin Yarde, Deputy Whip; Community Safety and Correctional Services