Doug Downey is happy to be back to the same job he had before the provincial election was called.
“I’m thrilled to continue my role as attorney general, something I have a lot of passion for,” Downey told BarrieToday after Premier Doug Ford announced his new cabinet on Friday. “I’m very excited to carry on the same work we started.
“The work’s never done and we started some great reform and there’s more to do.”
During the pandemic, as offices and courtrooms shut their doors, opting for digital platforms and remote work, Downey introduced a series of reforms within the Ministry of the Attorney General, which included modernization of the courts.
Downey, who was first elected to Queen’s Park in 2018, replaced Caroline Mulroney as attorney general in 2019.
Downey returns to the role of attorney general in cabinet, which is much the same as the previous one. The major exception is Dufferin-Caledon MPP and former solicitor general Sylvia Jones becomes deputy premier and takes over as health minister, replacing Christine Elliott, who did not seek re-election.
“There’s a lot of experience here, there’s a lot of talent, a lot of diversity and background and experience, so I’m really excited to get back,” said Downey.
On June 2, he reclaimed the position as Barrie-Springwater-Oro-Medonte MPP, edging out Liberal candidate Jeff Lehman by 296 votes in the tightest race in the province.
“It was a good race. We knocked on tens of thousands of doors and talked to a lot of constituents and they came out and voted and supported us,” said Downey.
As the Ford government regroups for its second term, Downey expects affordability to be a major focus. During his campaign, he heard concerns over increasing costs in housing, at the gas pump and the general cost of living.
In the immediate future, Downey said government will regroup and plot its direction. But as he goes back into the role of attorney general, he expects to continue the initiatives started during the previous term.
“It’s about bringing the system to the best it can be. We started a lot of change, decades of change in a couple of years, and we need to carry on,” he said.