TORONTO — Ontario’s most popular MPP switched cabinet positions last month after a mini-shuffle by Ontario Premier Doug Ford.
Ford reshuffled the cabinet when Jim Wilson, minister of economic development, job creation and trade, resigned. While the PC party originally said the resignation was to seek treatment for addiction issues, it was later confirmed by Ford that it was related to a sexual misconduct allegation.
Renfrew-Nipissing-Pembroke MPP John Yakabuski, who garnered almost 70 per cent of his riding’s vote in last year’s provincial election, moves to the portfolio of Natural Resources and Forestry. He takes over from Jeff Yurek, who is taking over Yakabuski’s transportation portfolio.
Yakabuski’s sister Marlene is the president of the Ontario Road Builders’ Association and vice-president of corporate affairs at Bot Construction, reported iPolitics. Lobbyists for both groups list the minister and ministry as lobbying targets.
Yakabuski has said he disclosed the conflict with the integrity commissioner, and has an ethics screen in place where he will not participate in discussions involving his sister’s organizations. Ministers must disclose conflicts of interest to the commissioner, but ministers do not need to follow the commissioner’s recommendations, and the commissioner can only investigate conflicts of interest if there is a complaint from an MPP or civil servant, reported iPolitics.