McMahon celebrates first full year as a Cabinet Minister - has she delivered for her constituents?

News 100 redBy Pepper Parr

June 12, 2017



Last week Burlington MPP Eleanor held her now annual Tea for the city’s seniors. The day happened to also be close to her first anniversary as a Member of the Wynne Cabinet and a member of the Treasury Board.

We wanted to hear what McMahon had to say about the move from being a back bencher to becoming a member of Cabinet and then appointed to Treasury Board – which is the group that looks at where the money is going to come from and how it is going to be spent.

McMahon with Bill Reid Sr of the year 2016

McMahon with Bill Reid Sr of the year 2016

McMahon explained that as a member of Treasury Board she is in a position where she is at times on one side the Treasury Board table asking questions and on other occasions on the opposite side answering questions. She has to explain and justify the plans her Ministry has and get them past the Treasury Board – and that isn’t always easy.

McMahon is the Minister of Culture, Tourism and Sports for the province. At the federal level each of those three is a separate department.

She has a Deputy Minister that reports to her and three Assistant Deputy Ministers that report to her deputy – the job is as close as one is going to get to heading up three ministries. And these aren’t little ministries. McMahon will tell you that culture contributes as much to the provincial gross domestic product as construction – which was a bit of a surprise to this reporter.

AGB presentation McMahon

The Art Gallery of Burlington for funding for a van that lets them take art out into the community.

Culture is a big deal that pulls the Minister into the soon to begin renegotiation of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) – content and intellectual property are now big drivers of an economy. And keeping an economy healthy is the biggest part of the job for every Cabinet member.

McMahon will let you know every chance she gets that Ontario is going to have a balanced budget. While relatively new to provincial politics – her 2014 election win was her first venture as a politician. She was personally recruited by Premier Kathleen Wynne; the fluently bilingual Minister has worked in the private sector with Petro Canada, the Ontario Medical Association, the Chamber of Commerce and the United Way.

It was her United Way experience and contacts that made it possible for her to pick up the phone and convince them to let the 2014 flood relief program to use their web site platform to begin collecting donations.

When McMahon first stepped into the provincial legislature we asked her: “What’s it like?” How did you feel when you first walked in the Legislature and took your seat”?

“There are 13 million people in Ontario” explained McMahon. “And just 107 in the Legislature – that fact just overwhelmed me. I am one of those 107 and the 13 million expect me to make good decisions for them.”

While it seems like a long time ago – the 2014 flood was a baptism by fire for McMahon. She had to convince the province to get on board with a matching dollar program and that was not a simple task. The province initially said no – which had McMahon working the telephones to get that decision changed.

The city raised $905,000 which the province matched on a 2 for 1 basis creating a fund of $2,715,000 that was  distributed to people whose homes had been flooded.

McMahon with seniors

Seniors get top billing with McMahon.

It isn’t all drudgery and work – McMahon stood up in the legislature recently and said the province needed to have some fun – the rubber duck was coming to Ontario.

A lot of her colleagues on the opposition side of the legislature hammered her for spending tax dollars foolishly – McMahon explained that the rubber duck was going to visit communities that asked to be destinations. “They got it” said McMahon who added that thousands of people will show up to do selfies with the 161 foot tall rubber duck.

The Ontario 150 Tour in celebration of Canada’s 150th anniversary features a summer of entertainment in waterfront cities and towns. It launches on Canada Day weekend in Toronto and then travels to Owen Sound, Sault Ste. Marie, Midland, Amherstburg and finishes in Brockville on August 13th.

McMahon couldn’t say if the duck was coming to Burlington – each destination works out its own arrangement with the festival organizers.

What a draw that duck would be as it slid by the Pier and moved on into Hamilton harbour.

That wasn’t something the Minister of Tourism, Culture and Sport was going to get into. She is now in early election mode – pounding the pavement with the provincial Liberal organization getting the word out on the job she has been doing.

McMahon office worker on the left

McMahon moved her office out of a dreary high rise and into a new building with much better exposure.

As she works the election trail there will be some explaining to do – the sale of part of Hydro One has a lot of people upset – they don’t think Crown Jewels should be sold.

The huge sums of money being put into infrastructure are a plus and the eventual electrification of the GO train service along with 15 minute service are welcome.

A government heading into its 15th year of leading the province raises some eyebrows. McMahon sees it all a little differently – she saw her win in 2014 as putting a Liberal in the Legislature to represent Burlington for the first time in 70 years.

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7 comments to McMahon celebrates first full year as a Cabinet Minister – has she delivered for her constituents?

  • Marshall

    McMahon is a complete disaster and all of the above comments must be tabulated well before the election so that everyone in Burlington can see that she has done nothing but support Kathleen Wynne and her incompetent regime. Her lack of interest in the school closures should resonate throughout the riding. She doesn’t need Wynne’s poor standing to justify her turfing.

  • David Fenton

    Voting Liberal always ends in you getting ducked.

  • Roger

    An absolute disappointment – lets count the ways

    20 million dollar overage and Burlington GO still not completed

    No support for opposing the closure of key Burlington High Schools

    As minister – spend less time in riding and had little time for voters – he staff are on record saying – you need to understand she is a minister and really busy

    She is a nice person but represents the Liberal party to Burlington and really fails to represent Burlington in Queens Park

  • James

    She spent our hard-earned money on a duck.

    Can I see the duck in Burlington?
    What does the duck have to do with anything?
    I don’t know, but it’s yellow!
    And we paid for this?
    Yup, several hundred thousand dollars!
    Do we at least get to keep the duck?
    So we’re giving someone hundreds of thousands of dollars to show us their duck and then take it away?
    And I’m paying for this?


    When’s the next election?

    • Phillip

      But think of the campaign next June against McMahon,
      “Rubber duckie, you’re the one,
      you make voting so much fun!
      Rubber duckie, I’m awfully fond of you.”
      More seriously, the duck is symbolic of the waste, misplaced priorities, and mismanagement of this Liberal government.

  • Stephen White

    The Minister should come down my street sometime. I’ll be glad to introduce her to some of the 37 out of 43 homeowners who, nearly three years on, are still trying to pull their lives back together after the August 2014 flood. I have neighbours who are still battling with insurance companies trying to get settlements. I have neighbours who have given up trying to get restoration firms to complete renovations and have taken on the work themselves. And I have neighbours who have just plain given up and moved.

    McMahon wasn’t there for a lot of residents during the flood, and she wasn’t there for a lot of parents and kids at Pearson and Bateman recently whose schools will soon be closed. Taxpayers spend millions of dollars upgrading schools to make them accessible and then the Board closes them down.

    Fear not though: we have a $125,000 rubber duckie, bikes lanes everywhere, and a feel good Minister in a nice, new constituency office who doles out money like candy for lots of government initiatives with marginal value and limited utility. The Liberals should adopt Bobby McFerrin’s song as their new motto: “Don’t Worry, Be Happy”!!

  • George

    Let us count the ways that MPP McMahon has delivered to her constituents:

    1.. Support for the closing of two Burlington High Schools – NO SUPPORT evident

    3. Support for the concerned mother who wrote to her on March 4,2017 requesting support for her child with a learning disability and the closing of LB Pearson High School – MPP McMahons NO SUPPORT response was identified as “its not my issue” answer.

    3. Support for a Rubber Duck – FULL SUPPORT

    Do the voters of Burlington need Rubber Duck Support but no support for two Burlington High Schools being closed by the Wynne Liberals to claim a “balanced budget” by selling assets?