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MPP ‘honoured and humbled’ with Cabinet post

By Trevor Terfloth, Postmedia Network

MPP Monte McNaughton is Ontario’s new infrastructure minister, having been sworn in with other Cabinet ministers on June 29. File photo/Postmedia Network

MPP Monte McNaughton is Ontario’s new infrastructure minister, having been sworn in with other Cabinet ministers on June 29. File photo/Postmedia Network

Monte McNaughton was just day into his new role, but already hitting the ground running on a sweltering Canada Day weekend.

The Lambton-Kent-Middlesex MPP was chosen as infrastructure minister in Premier Doug Ford's Progressive Conservative government, which was sworn in on June 29.

“I'm truly honoured and humbled to have been asked,” McNaughton said. “It's one of the most important ministries within government in the Province of Ontario.

“Whether it's in Chatham-Kent, or across rural Ontario, or in the big cities, we have an infrastructure deficit. … There's going to be substantial investments made over the next number of years.”

McNaughton said municipalities will be grappling with realities facing their roads, bridges, sewers and water treatment facilities.

He said the province will ensure there is value for the dollar with infrastructure, so “the taxpayers' money is spent appropriately and managed properly.”

McNaughton said the cabinet has already met and he also had a chance to meet with ministry staff.

He expects he'll be briefed on all the issues in the coming weeks.

“I was on the phone starting at 5:30 (Saturday) morning reaching out to stakeholders across the province, Infrastructure Ontario, the agencies that the Ministry of Infrastructure is responsible for,” he said.

“I'll be working with municipal councils right across the province and locally to determine what are the priorities for them.”

With a number of hot-button topics in the area, including wind turbines, water wells and highway median barriers, McNaughton said constituents can expect the issues to be addressed in the time ahead.

“I know the importance of these issues to families and communities in our area,” he said. “I know MPP (Rick) Nicholls, MPP (Bob) Bailey and myself have long advocated that these voices are heard within government. I can guarantee they will be.”

Others from the region named to the cabinet include Elgin-Middlesex-London MPP Jeff Yurek, for natural resources and forestry, Ernie Hardeman of Oxford who takes on agriculture, and Jim Wilson of Simcoe-Grey, for economic development.

“I think Doug Ford has delivered a solid cabinet,” McNaughton said. “I'm ecstatic with the people he has brought in. Southwestern Ontario has not been represented in cabinet this substantially in at least a generation.”