As requested by the Consumers Council of Canada, Ontario Premier Dalton McGuinty carried forward in his new cabinet with a separate portfolio for consumers, naming Margarett Best as Minister of Consumer Services.
Council President Don Mercer had written the Ontario premier ahead of his naming the new cabinet to urge McGuinty to retain the consumer portfolio. In fact, the size of the Ontario cabinet was reduced, but the separate consumer portfolio was preserved, continuing dedicated representation of consumer issues at the cabinet table in the new minority government.
"The Council was aware the Premier intended to reduce the size of his cabinet," said Mercer. "However, consumer concerns deserve a growing share of the government's attention, especially at this time. In the past, the ministry responsible for many aspects of consumer protection in Ontario has been folded into other ministries and subordinated to other concerns. The Council believes meeting consumer needs and protecting consumers is at the core of a fair, efficient and prosperous economy."
Mercer said the Council hopes the appointment of Best will bring fresh energy to the Ontario Ministry of Consumer Services, and the Council looks forward to working with the new minister, to build on the start made by her predecessors in re-activating consumer representation and protection initiatives in the government.
Don Mercer was named President of the Consumers Council of Canada at its annual meeting, and the Council's board of directors was elected.
Immediate Past President Bill Huzar continues to serve consumers as President of the Consumers Council of Canada Foundation.
Mercer retired in April 2007 after a long career in Ottawa, Toronto and Vancouver with Competition Bureau Canada. Following his appointment as head of the Competition Bureaus Ontario Region in October 2000 and subsequently as head of Pacific Region (BC and the Yukon), he was an active member of the Consumers Council of Canada's initial (now Central Ontario) Advisory Committee.