Third Ontario cabinet minister quits ahead of expected shuffle

Premier Kathleen Wynne is expected to shuffle her cabinet Monday for the first time since the June 2014 election

TORONTO – Another Ontario cabinet minister has announced his resignation ahead of an expected shuffle.

Mario Sergio, the minister responsible for seniors’ issues, issued a letter Friday saying it was time to make some changes to his political life and step down from the Liberal cabinet.

Sergio did not resign his seat in the Ontario legislature, but his letter doesn’t say if he’ll run for re-election in 2018.

“Earlier today, and with a very heavy heart, I informed the premier of my decision to no longer serve as a member of her cabinet,” he wrote. “I believe it is time to make way for a new generation of great ideas.”

Sergio, who was first elected in 1995 in Toronto’s York West riding, has been the minister responsible for seniors affairs since February 2013.

Premier Kathleen Wynne issued a statement thanking Sergio for his public service.

“His work will leave a lasting legacy of many new initiatives that will benefit seniors across the province for years to come,” wrote Wynne. “Through his commitment and dedication, Mario has played an enormous role in making Ontario one of the best places to age in Canada.”

Sergio is the third minister to quit this week following Attorney General Madeleine Meilleur and Municipal Affairs and Housing Minister Ted McMeekin.

Wynne is expected to shuffle her cabinet Monday for the first time since the June 2014 election, and has been sounding out ministers to see if they intend to run again in two years.

It’s believed Wynne wants to bring some new faces to the cabinet table during the legislature’s summer recess, and shuffle out ministers who don’t plan to run in 2018.

The media watched a series of cabinet ministers enter and then fairly quickly emerge from the premier’s office Thursday and Friday.

Wynne has spoken only about a “hypothetical” shuffle, but said it’s not unusual for a premier to shuffle a cabinet halfway through a mandate.

The legislature adjourned Thursday until mid-September, which would give new cabinet ministers nearly three months to get up to speed on their new jobs before facing the opposition parties in the daily question period.

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