Wednesday, August 18, 2010

No shuffle for education

Minister of Education Leona Dombrowsky wasn't shuffled out of the portfolio Wednesday during the premier's rearrangement of his cabinet.
This wasn't a huge surprise to me. Dombrowsky hasn't encountered any huge controversy in the post, and has staunchly continued to defend the Liberal government's path in education. Even with the wrinkles on implementing the full-day kindergarten program, the education world isn't really in a tizzy.
She was added to a new cabinet committee, the priorities and planning committee, which appears to replace a committee the education minister of the day sat on around the government's poverty reduction strategy. She also sits on the emergency management committee and the health, education and social committee. The Belleville Intelligencer, the main newspaper in her riding, was quick off the mark to post on her addition to the P&P committee.
I'm a little more curious to see whether the premier will also shuffle the parliamentary assistants (Ed's is currently Leeanna Pendergast). These positions tend to be shuffled more often than ministers since they're some times perqs for backbenchers to keep them in the fold. I don't think there's any question Pendergast will run again in her riding, so there may not be a need to shuffle.
I would expect to see no change in the direction over the next year— Education will continue to be a priority plank in the next campaign for the Liberals, who'll have another four years of school construction and renovations under their belt. They'll also be heading into the second year of full-day kindergarten and the final year of pouring millions into education to cover the provincial agreements signed with employee groups.


Sandy Crux said...

Just thought I'd mention, Hugo, that a PA for the Ed Minister actually does a lot of background work.

When I worked for the Harris era MPP, he was the PA for both the Ed Minister and the Minister for Training, College & Universities (or whatever its called now).

He was PA for two years and one of my MPP's jobs (and mine by default since I was his EA) was completely revamping the student loan program. Once the paper work was done, in co-ordination with a few select public servants, he gave it to his Minister who then took it to P&P for approval.

Also, everything (e.g., remember all those new primary/junior language arts curricula guidelines) had to first be signed off by my boss even before it got to the Minister.

Since I was the only retired educator, he gave them to me first to take a look at them -- not that anyone would have changed anything had I recommended that -- LOL.

In other words, at least in my experience, a PA does a lot more than get a few perks, which only really involves getting a parking spot downstairs in the Mowat Block basement. Other than that, it's a thankless job because everything you do, it is the Minister who gets credit.

Just some thoughts.

Education Reporter said...


Yes, no intention of glossing over the role of the PA. I was aware they do a lot of heavy lifting, often carrying the ball on ministry issues at the committee levels and shepherding legislation through the process, despite it having the minister's name on the front page.

No slight to PAs was intended...