alison redford appoints gary mar’s cabinet.

Alberta cabinet ministers

Tory MLAs gather for the traditional game musical chairs to choose the new Cabinet.

Do you think Gary Mar left a draft cabinet list in the Premier’s Office when he was measuring the drapes? Because Premier Alison Redford found it.

We were told to expect big changes, that many “household names” would be dropped from cabinet, but as they enter their new jobs, Premier Alison Redford‘s cabinet looks like one that should have been made by her main leadership opponent Gary Mar.

Edmonton-Rutherford MLA Fred Horne‘s appointment as Minister of Health and Wellness and Ron Liepert‘s appointment as Finance Minister means that there will be no serious judicial inquiry into the intimidation of health care workers. Minister Liepert’s promotion from Energy to Finance is surprising considering that only last week he was openly defying Premier Redford on the need for a health care inquiry. Both Mr. Horne and Mr. Liepert were strong supporters of Mr. Mar in the leadership contest and would have likely ended up in similar positions had he not been defeated on the third ballot vote on October 1.

It has yet to be seen what new powers Minister Liepert will hold as Finance Minister. Remember that in recent cabinets, the President of the Treasury Board has held considerable sway over the province’s purse-strings. This could mean that ‘Liepert the Hound‘ could turn into ‘Liepert the Pup‘ when dealing with the current Treasury Board President and Deputy Premier Doug Horner.

New Alberta Cabinet Map

A map of the constituencies represented by members of Alberta's new cabinet.

Former Finance Minister Ted Morton is moving into the Energy Minister’s office, an area where he will be comfortable defending the province’s record on oil sands development. New Education Minister Thomas Lukaszuk is a cabinet lightweight who will have to be a quick study if he wants to survive in his new job. He and Premier Redford started things off right this afternoon with the announcement adding $100 million into the education budget today. Both Minister Morton and Minister Lukaszuk supported Mr. Mar on the final ballot of the PC leadership contest.

The appointment of Battle River-Wainwright MLA Doug Griffiths as Minister of Municipal Affairs could turn out to be an interesting choice. Minister Griffiths, who was defeated on the first ballot of the PC leadership contest and has never served in cabinet, comes with both inexperience and an open-mind. Despite his rural pedigree, I would not discount his ability to build relationships with the group of young municipal leaders who have been elected in recent years, including Calgary Mayor Naheed Nenshi and Edmonton City Councillor Don Iveson.

The appointment of Edmonton-Whitemud MLA and long-time cabinet minister Dave Hancock (also a Mar loyalist) as Minister of the new Human Services super-ministry is a smart choice. Minister Hancock is a seasoned govern0r who may be the only MLA who can help weave and organize this newly formed portfolio, which includes Children and Youth Services, Employment and Immigration (except for immigration), Homelessness, Alberta Supports (from Seniors and Community Supports).

Rewarded for his most (if only) significant political decision is backbench MLA Art Johnston, who was appointed Parliamentary Assistant to Executive Council (which means he gets to carry Premier Redford’s briefing binder in the Assembly). Mr. Johnston was the only MLA to support Ms. Redford on the first ballot of the PC leadership vote.

Some much needed new blood around the cabinet table includes Drayton Valley-Calmar MLA Diana McQueen as Minister of Environment and Water, Calgary-Montrose MLA Manmeet Bhullar as Minister of Service Alberta, Athabasca-Redwater MLA Jeff Johnson as Minister of Infrastructure, and Red Deer-South MLA Cal Dallas as Minister of International, Intergovernmental and Aboriginal Relations.

Notable cabinet ministers joining the great unwashed masses in the Tory backbenches include Sherwood Park MLA Iris Evans, Vermilion-Lloydminster MLA Lloyd Snelgrove, Innisfail-Sylvan Lake MLA Luke Ouellette, Edmonton-Mill Creek MLA Gene Zwozdesky, Calgary-Cross MLA Yvonne Fritz, Calgary-Shaw MLA Cindy Ady, and Medicine Hat MLA Rob Renner. It would not be surprising to see these now backbench MLAs and others decide to collect their million dollar severance packages and not stand in the next election.

Not to be unexpected, it did not take long for the rumour mill to start suggesting what next steps these former cabinet ministers might take. If he is not retiring, one rumour I heard today suggests that Mr. Zwozdesky may seek re-election and challenge Speaker Ken Kowalski for his position in the Assembly after the next election.

Avoiding one of former Premier Ed Stelmach‘s first mistakes, this cabinet reaches a respectable geographical balance. Four cabinet minister each from Calgary and Edmonton and the remaining twelve spread across the province.

25 thoughts on “alison redford appoints gary mar’s cabinet.

  1. Neal

    Totally imbalanced cabinet when it comes to gender. That’s a serious dissapointment, especially coming from the first female Premier.

    And the way they repackaged government is just atrocious. Children, the homeless, handicapped and the unemployed all have the same needs? The Human Services ministry is doomed to fail. There will be more dropped balls and embarassing mistakes in these areas than ever before.

    I suppose the obvious ways to reduce cabinet, like merging Treasury Board and Finance, made too much sense? Or maybe blatantly admitting that such splits were made just to make room for more cabinet names is unappealing? Either way, it’s too dumb for words.

    Not much in the way of ethnic balance either.

    Overall this takes all the wind out of the supposedly progressive Premier’s sails. She’s now allowed herself to be painted as a liberal, and done what she could to dissapoint or drive away liberal leaning voters. Redford now has the worst of both worlds… the stigma of being a lefty, without many actual lefty votes.

    I guess Stephen Carter is better at running campaigns than running governments. Maybe that’s why he’s not Nenshi’s chief of staff…

    Reply
  2. Joanne

    I agree with Neal. This cabinet is a huge disapointment especially when it comes to gender but more importantly when it comes to Ron Liepert’s appointment–‘her friend’; what a pay-off for being Alsions’ friend.
    Friends like Liepert she does not need. He will do his usaul stuff, Create nothing but contraversy and more enemies.
    Wildrose, here I come!

    Reply
  3. Joanne

    I agree with Neal. This cabinet is a huge disapointment especially when it comes to gender but more importantly when it comes to Ron Liepert’s appointment–‘her friend’; what a pay-off for being Alison’s friend.
    Friends like Liepert she does not need. He will do his usaul stuff, Create nothing but contraversy and more enemies.
    Wildrose, here I come!

    Reply
  4. Josh T

    Correction… Manmeet is Minister of Service Alberta and Heather Klimchuk is Minister of Culture and Community Services.

    Reply
  5. Mic

    There seems to be a widespread belief that AISH and PDD are in the new Human Services department, but that’s not how I read it. According to the backgrounder, the only thing moving from the former Seniors and Community Supports department to Human Services is the “Alberta Supports” area. This is a coordination office that does not run programs. I’m under the impression that both AISH and PDD will stay in Seniors.

    Reply
  6. David Harrigan

    Right on with the analysis of the health care inquiry.

    “Minister Griffiths… comes with both inexperience and an open-mind.” Beautiful, correct, and optomistic turn of phrase.

    ” this cabinet reaches a respectable geographically balance. Four cabinet minister each from Calgary and Edmonton and the remaining twelve spread across the province.”

    You call that a respectable balance when each of Calgary and Edmonton more than doubles the population in the other areas? You trying to get this blog to forward to http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Harry_Strom ?

    Reply
  7. Chief of Staff to the President of Davberta

    Neal, it’s not so much that the cabinet is imbalanced when it comes to race and gender, it’s more that the entire Legislature is imbalanced when it comes to race and gender. Can’t really blame Redford if her cabinet reflects that.

    Reply
  8. Colin

    I think the gov’t reorg is good overall, but I hope that at some point someone has the common sense to put ministry structure into legislation. The perpetual cyclone of absorbing, breaking up and creating new ministries is terrible politics and terrible policy. But in general, these are rational changes to gov’t organization.

    That said, the public service needs to be shaken up. Too many people and rules impeding risk-taking and ambition.

    I also hope for less emphasis on creating “policy frameworks” and more focus on “what do we actually want to do?” Need more results than crafting generic policy documents.

    *fingers crossed*

    Reply
  9. jerrymacgp

    What was she thinking?! Ron Liepert in Finance? The bull in the china shop in charge of the public purse? Give me strength!

    Reply
  10. C'mon Seriously

    Fred Horne received a well deserved appointment. 2 summers ago, he travelled the province listening to Albertans and collecting their input for the New Alberta Health Act. He has worked in Health Policy for most of his adult life and knows the ins and the outs much better than anyone else in cabinet who may have more “experience” as a policitian.

    As for your dig at Art Johnston, he was the one who began the push for distracted driving legislation in 2008. He has a private members bill that was defeated, but he never stopped pushing. I believe he had a big part in helping that legislation finally come to fruition and has helped save many lives on our highways.

    Also, I don’t see why people are painting this as same old same old when of the 21 member cabinet – 8 are new, 5 have been ministers less than two years (Denis, Lukaszuk, Oberle, Olson, Weadick) and one is the Premier. Aside from the premier there are only 7 of the same people who are in cabinet from a year ago.

    Reply
  11. @C'Mon Seriously

    “Fred Horne received a well deserved appointment”

    Is that you Fred? or Alison? Fred was allegedly tinkering for years with trying to instill privatization, working hand in claw with players that WANT TO privatize….So why is this guy deserving of anything, when he was working to privatize everything?

    Did you fall on your head? Have you read any news since November? he deserves this just because he went on a misinformation campaign to fool people into thinking he is helping them? Either you are naive or an inside player of privatization yourself.

    Reply
  12. J. Prosser

    “Chief of Staff to the President of Davberta” is correct. The lack of representation in the caucus is through the choices of Albertans. That, and there is little to indicate that Redford is a feminist, or a proponent of feminist change. Her choices to leave Evans, Fritz, and Ady out of caucus are likely more to do with their track record and their overwhelming ties to the “old guard”. While there is increasing evidence that more women in power positions do change the political environment in which decisions are made, it is hardly surprising Redford didn’t go this route. Her other cabinet picks speak volumes about her desire for change, put best by Davberta’s post.

    Reply
  13. C'mon Seriously

    In response to @C’mon Seriously” I will give you one quote from Dr. Tom Noseworthy, an expert in health policy at the University of Calgary. Dr. Noseworthy is hardly a private health care advocate, nor a tory pawn.

    From the Calgary Herald:
    Dr. Tom Noseworthy, an expert in health policy at the University of Calgary, said Horne was an obvious choice. “I’m impressed that Redford would choose a thoughtful, experienced person like him to sit at the cabinet table.

    “Any of the opposition who are raising issues about Fred Horne’s views on private health care don’t really know him very well and are not really listening to what the new premier has had to say on the issue.”

    And full disclosure, I do know Fred very well. I haven’t seen anyone in government who works as hard as him to understand the issues fully. I am much more confident in the direction of Alberta Health and Wellness than I was a week ago.

    Reply
  14. @C'mon

    Do you seriously think that a truly transparent, free of political interference judicial public inquiry will be allowed now? Since Alison chose Liepert, Hancock, Horne and others like Hughes were allowed to help Alison form Cabinet. and BTW, Hughes is Alberta Health Chairman, do you think there is complete transparency and honesty here, free from political interference and meddling? If you do, either you are sniffing paint or a part of all this. It does not pass the sniff test and most Albertans don’t believe most of the bogus experts that try to paint favourable public opinions of sham artists as keep trying to paint lipstick on a pig.

    Reply
  15. c'mon seriously

    “I know Horne really super well and he wouldn’t DREAM of private health care. He just changes the language, and private contracts become public FUNDED health care.”
    News flash: That IS private health care. Private clinics cannot function without LOTS of public money. They don’t care where the money comes from, as long as they get lots of it.
    Horne and Health doesn’t set policy anyhow. Its Finance and Energy.

    Reply
  16. The Invisible Hand

    David Harrigan: You call that a respectable balance when each of Calgary and Edmonton more than doubles the population in the other areas?

    Wrong. According to the 2006 census, Calgary has 30.0% of Alberta’s population, while Edmonton has 22.2%, for a combined total of 52.2%.

    Under the current boundaries, Calgary has 27.7% of the seats and Edmonton has 21.7%, for total of 49.4%. So while the big cities are underrepresented, it’s not by very much.

    C’mon Seriously: As for your dig at Art Johnston, he was the one who began the push for distracted driving legislation in 2008. He has a private members bill that was defeated, but he never stopped pushing. I believe he had a big part in helping that legislation finally come to fruition and has helped save many lives on our highways.

    Evidence shows that jurisdictions that pass distracted driving laws actually see a slight increase in accident rates, relative to those that don’t.

    Reply
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