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Local voices missing in ‘sloppy’ cabinet: MPP

The latest cabinet shuffle at Queen’s Park has left Ottawa badlyunderrepresented at the higher levels of the provincial government,said an Ottawa MPP.

The latest cabinet shuffle at Queen’s Park has left Ottawa badly underrepresented at the higher levels of the provincial government, said an Ottawa MPP.

Premier Dalton McGuinty unveiled an overhauled cabinet on Monday that had just Ottawa-Vanier MPP Madeleine Meilleur, the Minister of Community and Social Services and Francophone Affairs, as the only local voice.

Conservative MPP for Nepean-Carleton Lisa MacLeod called the new cabinet “sloppy,” saying that as the second-largest city in the province, Ottawa deserves to be better represented.

“We have no focus. We have no representation,” she said. “In suburban and rural Ottawa, that means Nepean, Kanata, Orleans, and Cumberland … are left out.”

Ottawa Centre MPP Yasir Naqvi said having the premier of the province coming from Ottawa South gives the city a great presence at the cabinet table.

Since the premier’s job is to represent the entire province, MacLeod said he could not be considered a true champion and advocate for the Ottawa region.

MacLeod called this the latest in a series of recent slights against the city. For example, she said there are no pre-budget hearings with legislative members in Ottawa, opening the cancer centre at the Queensway Carleton Hospital is being delayed and the premier has been reticent to support the city’s rapid transit plan.

Naqvi, the Parliamentary assistant to the Minister of Revenue and president of the Ontario Liberal Party, defended the province’s record for investing in the city, citing the recent $600-million commitment for the city’s transit plan.