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Jun 29, 2019

One week after the Doug Ford government celebrated its first year since since winning a sweeping majority in Ontario and reducing the governing Liberals to less than party status, the premier didn't just shuffle his cabinet - he blew it up and rebuilt it. Doug Ford fired/demoted some of his key front benchers.

Barely a couple of months after tabling his first (and only, it seems) provincial budget, Vic Fedeli lost his job as the Finance Minister - demoted to a lesser portfolio as Minister of Economic Development, Job Creation and Trade. Education Minister Lisa Thompson was bumped down to Government and Community Services. And Lisa MacLeod was nearly gleeful when she was shifted out of the Children, Community and Social Services ministry to take over Tourism, Culture and Sports.

Rod Phillips got the nod to take over the Finance portfolio, leaving Environment to Jeff Yurek, who was shifted out of Transportation in favour of Caroline Mulroney. And rookie Doug Downey assumed the robes and role of Ontario's Attorney General.

So this was a first class shake up; it was described as 'the reset' for Ford Nation; it was cast as the government's opportunity to rehab some of the self-inflicted wounds it suffered in the first year since being elected.

Not so fast. The cabinet shuffle was completely sidelined, derailed and torched by a series of questionable patronage appointments, (announced mere hours after the new cabinet was introduced), the Premier's decision to rescind the appointments a day later AND the sudden resignation of his Chief of Staff, Dean French.

Add to that the province's announced decision to cancel Canada Day festivities at Queen's Park as a cost saving measure and it turned into another bad week for Premier Ford and his team. The new year starting much the same way the old year ended.