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The fourth of the six candidates to speak at the Provincial Liberal Convention at Maple Leaf Gardens in Toronto during the Provincial Liberal Leadership Convention on Jan. 26, 2013 is Charles Sousa. (Peter Power/The Globe and Mail)
The fourth of the six candidates to speak at the Provincial Liberal Convention at Maple Leaf Gardens in Toronto during the Provincial Liberal Leadership Convention on Jan. 26, 2013 is Charles Sousa. (Peter Power/The Globe and Mail)

Wynne to name Sousa, Murray to finance and transportation portfolios in Ontario cabinet Add to ...

When Kathleen Wynne formally takes office as Ontario premier Monday afternoon, she will try to strike a balance between new blood and experience in her cabinet, shoring up both the left and right wings of her party, sources said.

The most significant change will be Charles Sousa, one of Ms. Wynne's leadership rivals, who will take over from Dwight Duncan as finance minister. The business credentials of Mr. Sousa, a former bank executive, will be meant to help balance Ms. Wynne's background in social policy and project an image of fiscal restraint.

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The Mississauga MPP ran for leader on an economics-focused platform. He pulled out after two ballots and took his support to Ms. Wynne, sealing her victory.

One of Ms. Wynne's closest allies, health minister Deb Matthews, will remain at her post and also take on the role of deputy premier. A friend of Ms. Wynne's since both were elected to the legislature in 2003, she co-chaired the premier-designate's leadership campaign.

Other big jobs will go to Liz Sandals, who will be elevated from the backbench to the education portfolio; Bob Chiarelli, who will move from transportation to energy; and Glen Murray, who will take over Mr. Chiarelli's old post.

Ms. Wynne's other leadership rivals, Eric Hoskins and Harinder Takhar, will also sit at the cabinet table. Mr. Hoskins, who finished last in the race and backed Ms. Wynne after the first ballot, will take the economic development ministry. Brad Duguid will move from that post to consumer services.

Mr. Takhar will return to his old job as government services minister. Although Mr. Takhar dropped out of the race to support Ms. Wynne's chief rival, Sandra Pupatello, he showed his strong organizational chops by drawing a large amount of support in the 905 suburban belt around Toronto, a key area the Liberals need to win in the next election. Mr. Takhar represents the riding of Mississauga-Erindale.

Ms. Wynne's office said Monday that she is still trying to press Ms. Pupatello to run in a by-election to fill Mr. Duncan's Windsor-Tecumseh seat, which is adjacent to Ms. Pupatello's old riding.

She denied rumours Ms. Pupatello has been the first choice for a cabinet job and that the premier-designate had to go to a secondary plan when she refused to commit to running.

"This is the cabinet Kathleen wanted and always planned on," her office said in a statement. "Sandra Pupatello is still considering her options, he Premier Designate would  like her to run, or be involved either way."

Ms. Sandals, a former school trustee, has spent years as a cabinet understudy, serving as parliamentary assistant in both the education and transportation portfolios. She inherits a high-stakes job; teacher anger over a bill that imposed contracts pushed their unions to campaign against the party in a by-election last year. One of her first orders of business will be to try to strike a deal with teachers' unions to restore extracurricular activities in the province's public schools.

Laurel Broten, the previous education minister, will remain in cabinet running intergovernmental affairs.

Mr. Chiarelli, meanwhile, will be tasked with handling the fallout over the costly cancellations of two gas-fired power plants, which the opposition has charged were purely political moves designed to save Liberal seats in the Toronto suburbs. Both opposition parties pressed the government on the issue daily throughout the last legislative session.

His predecessor in the portfolio, Chris Bentley, has already announced he will resign from the legislature this week.

Mr. Murray, a former mayor of Winnipeg, will also have a tough assignment. Provincial transit planning agency Metrolinx is set to unveil a strategy for funding transportation infrastructure this summer, a plan which could include new taxes and tolls. It will be the Toronto MPP's task to sell voters and jittery, tax-averse municipal politicians on it.

Mr. Murray sought the party leadership, but dropped out to back Ms. Wynne before voting day.

Ms. Wynne will serve as her own agriculture minister, in a bid to mend fences with rural Ontario, which turned its back on the Liberals in the 2011 election.

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