Oct 30, 2007, 4:13 PM
Ted McMeekin to be named to Ontario cabinet today
October 30, 2007
There is a report today that Ancaster-Dundas-Flamborough-Westdale MPP Ted McMeekin will be named Minister of Government Services.
The announcement will be made at 2 p.m. when the new cabinet gets sworn in. It was feared that Hamilton would be unrepresented in cabinet.
Former energy minister Dwight Duncan will be named finance minister, according to CHML. Chris Bentley will be the attorney general and the new minister of aboriginal affairs will be Michael Bryant
Oct 31, 2007, 11:26 AM
McMeekin can keep us on radar at Queen's Park
The Hamilton Spectator
(Oct 31, 2007)
From alcohol and gaming to consumer and privacy protection, Liberal MPP Ted McMeekin is suddenly in charge of an extremely large and complex government ministry.
But more importantly for Hamilton, McMeekin's promotion from the backbench to Premier Dalton McGuinty's new cabinet has given the city an all-important voice at the provincial decision-making table.
"I think this augurs well for the city," McMeekin said yesterday. "I think it means that Hamilton is in the game."
How much clout McMeekin, 59, will wield remains to be seen.
But thanks to his new position as minister of government services, the city has again been given access to both the premier and key cabinet ministers for issues affecting the municipality.
That access was in jeopardy after former cabinet minister Marie Bountrogianni retired and the Liberal presence in Hamilton was reduced in the Oct. 10 election from four to two seats.
Presumably, McGuinty listened to Hamilton's political and business establishment who asked him to elevate McMeekin and/or rookie Hamilton Mountain MPP Sophia Aggelonitis to cabinet.
Though Toronto media speculated Aggelonitis was in the running, no mention was ever made of the veteran McMeekin, who represents Ancaster-Dundas-Flamborough-Westdale.
Locally, however, the politically experienced McMeekin was always seen as the logical choice as Hamilton's voice at the big table, albeit a problematic one given he had previously been something of a thorn in the premier's side, notably over deamalgamation.
McMeekin's rise to cabinet not only suggests his attempt to be more diplomatic with party brass has paid off, but so have his fence-mending efforts with McGuinty.
It probably didn't hurt that putting McMeekin in cabinet will also go a long way in blunting criticisms that McGuinty's much-publicized election crush on Hamilton had more to do with seat-hungry cynicism than a genuine desire to help the city.
McMeekin got the appointment call from McGuinty in a small Vancouver cafe while vacationing with his wife.
He's no stranger to the government service portfolio. Last year, he was parliamentary assistant to former minister Gerry Phillips.
It may be an open question whether McMeekin has the qualifications in hand to now run the ministry which has an annual budget of about $800 million and which is responsible for everything from provincial licensing to public service contracts.
But there's no question McMeekin is uniquely qualified to be the strategic link between city hall and Queen's Park, which is what Hamilton needs.
Though best known as the former mayor of Flamborough who fought tooth and nail against amalgamation, McMeekin was a longtime suburban councillor for the former regional government.
But it's often forgotten he was born and raised in Hamilton proper and actually cut his political teeth in the mid-1970s in Ward 7 on the central Mountain where he was ward mate to the legendary Henry Merling, which must have been both a learning and cautionary experience.
McMeekin moved to Waterdown in the late '70s when his wife, Dr. Barbara McMeekin, was invited to join a medical practice. He opened a small bookstore there before running for elected office in Flamborough.
He was first elected MPP in the 2000 byelection following the amalgamation-fuelled resignation of Tory MPP Toni Skarica.
Known for his folksy ways and foxy means, McMeekin sees himself as part parish priest and part social worker. The former may stem from his one-time mission work with the United Church, the latter from his days as executive director of the Burlington Social Planning Council.
Both attributes have served him well in a political career that's just been given new legs.
"I think there's a hopefulness in the city that needs to be nurtured," McMeekin said.
"For far too long, we've had in this city and the surrounding areas ... a bit of an inferiority complex. That culture has got to change if we're going to move this city forward."
Nov 2, 2007, 3:43 PM
this guys an idiot. I would rather have no Minister than him. He hates Hamilton, now he loves it for a Cabinet Post. He won't bring shit to Hamilton.
Jan 18, 2010, 8:15 PM
Ted is out of cabinet as Minister of Minister of Consumer Services but replaced by Hamilton's own Sophia Aggelonitis.
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