Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Aileen who? The 6th Ontario culture
minister in 7 years

More than half of Canada's magazines are published in Ontario, so who is the culture minister is an important issue. Would that the Ontario government saw it that way.

In a recent post, we pointed out that there had been five culture ministers in Ontario in seven years (and five different names for the culture ministry.) Of those, perhaps only one -- David Tsbouchi -- had obvious chops to do the job. Well, here we go again, with the latest Dalton McGuinty shuffle, the cabinet post has been given to another person without many apparent qualifications for the job. If this had happened once, it might have been inadvertent; but the fact is that time after time this portfolio has been seen by both Tory and Liberal governments as a suitable place to try out green ministers. Of minor importance, in other words.

No offence meant to Aileen Carroll, who was elected to the Ontario legislature in 2007. She began her career in politics as a Barrie City councillor. She's not a political neophyte, having run and won three times as federal MP for Barrie (1997, 2000 and 2004). She served as the Minister for International Cooperation for a time.

Her resume doesn't seem to have the word culture anywhere in it, however, unless chairing a fundraising project for the Barrie Public Library counts. Other good works include being honorary chair for the Barrie United Way, a volunteer at Hospice Simcoe and a founding member of Barrie's Big Sister Association.

Carroll is a graduate of St. Mary's and York universities, and co-owned a manufacturing and retail business in Barrie for many years. She and her husband Kevin Carroll, Q.C., have two adult children.

But culture? Once again, a minister who has on her training wheels will have to be brought up to speed on this file, even though she is responsible for extremely important agencies such as the Ontario Arts Council and the Ontario Media Development Corporation. She's not a rank beginner, mind you, and apparently knows how to get things done. It remains to be seen if one of those things is getting due attention paid to cultural industries.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Perhaps I can become Culture Minister. I am totally unqualified for the job. But, I did just move back to Ontario and they have to hire someone. Why not me?

4:59 pm  

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