June 21, 2019

One step forward, two back

Only the cabinet shuffle casualties and those swinging the axe know for sure why politicians get demoted. But it's still fun to speculate.

Nipissing MPP Vic Fedeli is no longer Premier Doug Ford's lefthand as Minister of Finance, he's now carrying the economic development, job creation and trade portfolio instead of the provincial purse.

This job is actually in his wheel house with Fedeli boasting a long marketing resume. He was a chamber of commerce president as he built and sold a successful advertising firm in the Gateway of the North. Fedeli then facilitated major private investment at North Bay's former air base property. Two terms as the city's mayor followed.

Ford called Fedeli the party's "best salesman" after ballooning the cabinet with new faces.

But was he really just one of Ford's scapegoats for an unpopular budget and perhaps whipping boy for the Progressive Conservative Party's mock-worthy communication campaigns? Or did he have a direct hand in the budget-cutting strategy as well as a spotty communication plan? It must have been embarrassing for the government to back-track on several fronts after immense backlash?

It's hard to imagine Fedeli would mis-judge so much so often. My instinct is that he wouldn't over-expose his cabinet members in those bizarre lock-step Twitter campaigns (carbon tax stickers on gas pumps, convenience store visits over beer issues). That sounds like a novice with silly ideas and not the seasoned Fedeli. He wasn't above subtle gimmicks but knew better, it seemed, to avoid looking like a stereotypical 1970s car salesman. Every. Day.

How much was it about Rod Phillips getting promoted?

Could it be that Fedeli's ambitious reputation got ahead of him?

I'm actually hoping he got demoted because he stood up and said, "Geez, Doug ... what the F? You can't start appointing your peeps to cushy posts."

We'll know I'm wrong if he remains the cabinet chairman.

Related reading: Start with this CBC opinion piece by Robyn Urbach headlined: Doug Ford's dumpster fire explains why Ontario tolerates years of Liberal mismanagement ...



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