Jonathon Liedtke – ourWindsor.ca – June 24, 2013
Teresa Piruzza, the MPP for Windsor-West and Minister of Youth and Children’s Services, has only been in office just four months shy of two years, but she is quickly rebuffing assertions that Windsor would be relegated to a second-tier status as a city following the resignation of former Minister of Finance and Windsor-East MPP Dwight Duncan.
Upon the resignation of MPP Laurel Broten yesterday, premier Wynne named Piruzza to take on her portfolio as the new Minister Responsible for Women’s issues.
The news “came as a surprise” for Piruzza, but she explained in an exclusive telephone interview with OurWindsor.ca that she is “feeling pretty excited” about the new portfolio.
Before being named a minister, Piruzza served as parliamentary assistant to Minister Broten for women’s issues and citizenship and immigration.
“I’ve worked with her on a couple things and I’m fairly familiar,” expressed Piruzza, adding that she will “have to go through all my briefings and get brought up to date on everything.”
Broten’s resignation marks the fourth Liberal controlled seat which premier Wynne will be forced to call a by-election for. Premier McGuinty and former MPPs Duncan and Bentley’s seats are also up for grabs.
Piruzza explained that she was surprised to learn of Broten’s resignation and that she didn’t know that Broten’s family was planning on relocating outside of the province.
“I know that it’s a hard decision to get into politics and it’s a hard decision to get out as well. She’s made the decision that’s right for her and her family and we have to respect that,” said Piruzza.
When asked whether or not she thought that she’d be able to handle both portfolios, Piruzza responded that she was “up to the challenge.”
“Part of the key [is] to ensure that we have a good team and good support for all the work that I do between the two ministries, I think I’m up to the challenge,” said Piruzza.
“The premier believes that I’m up to the challenge. Whenever there’s any type of work or change, the premier has a number of options that are available,” said Piruzza. “The fact that she contacted me, and she asked me to do this … it indicates that she certainly has the confidence that I’ll be able to do it as well.”
Many Windsorites were concerned when they heard that Dwight Duncan had resigned as Minister of Finance that it meant that Windsor would lose special consideration from the provincial government.
While Sandra Pupatello’s bid at leadership of the Ontario Liberal Party – and her de facto bid at becoming premier of the province – helped to alleviate some concerns of trepidations Windsorites, her loss to Wynne certainly did not help remedy the situation.
However, with news that Piruzza has been named a minister twice over, perhaps Windsor will continue to receive some special consideration from the provincial government.
Piruzza believes that her new position is a great opportunity for Windsor to further increase its representation in government.
“I think it’s been a great opportunity for Windsor to have that representation,” said Piruzza. “Children and youth services and women’s issues [are] both portfolios that I think really hit to our families and individuals in our communities, right down to the local level [and] what’s happening with our families and our citizens.
Jonathon Liedtke is the Features & Opinion Editor for the University of Windsor Lance Campus/Community Newspaper and a reporter for ourWindsor.ca. As a founding member and current Co-Chair of the Mayor’s Youth Advisory Committee, he is committed to representing, connecting, engaging with and advocating for local youth. He is also a member of Windsor’s “Punk with Horns” band The Nefidovs, and as such, is committed to enhancing and sustaining the arts community.