cabinet building and the game of politics in alberta.

“When you play the game of thrones, you win or you die. There is no middle ground.”
Cersei Lannister, Game of Thrones

With the coming of a new Premier, the great game of cabinet building is underway and the politicians are jockeying for their positions. As reported by the Edmonton Journal, the competition to woo the new Queen of Alberta politics took the form of hugs and cheers at today’s Tory caucus meeting, the first since Premier-designate Alison Redford won the Progressive Conservative leadership on October 1.

Geography, gender, experience, competency, and political loyalty are a few of the many factors that are taken into account when building a cabinet. The need to put a new face on the cabinet will certainly leave some veteran MLAs mispleased with the appointments, which are expected to take place next week. Two position are already assured to Doug Horner as Deputy Premier and Dave Hancock as House leader.

Idle speculation over coffee (or mead and meat if we were in King’s Landing) with David Climenhaga, author of the Alberta Diary blog, led to the creation of three speculative lists of “who’s in” the cabinet, “too soon to tell” what their future is, and “who’s out” the next provincial cabinet.

The first two of the three groups are listed below and are our contribution to what is sure to be at the centre of debate among members of Premier Redford’s transition team. The third group, which I will not list on this blog, we hope will be chaired by the always affable and cheery hopefully-soon-to-be-former cabinet minister Ron Liepert.

Who’s in?

Doug Horner – Spruce Grove-Sturgeon-St. Albert (Already announced Deputy Premier, could be appointed Finance Minister)
Dave Hancock – Edmonton-Whitemud (Already appointed as House Leader)
Ted Morton – Foothills-Rockyview (lock the gun cabinet, keep your friends close, and your enemies even closer)
Ray Danyluk – Lac La Biche-St. Paul (Flexed his political muscle by drawing largest vote in his constituency in the PC leadership contest)
Robin Campbell – West Yellowhead
Dave Rodney – Calgary-Lougheed
Cal Dallas – Red Deer-South (from Red Deer and not Mary Ann Jablonski)
Kyle Fawcett – Calgary-North Hill (Supported Doug Griffiths on the first ballot and Redford on the second ballot)
Yvonne Fritz – Calgary-Cross (competent cabinet minister)
Jack Hayden – Drumheller-Stettler (to satisfy the rural vote)
Cindy Ady – Calgary-Shaw (to satisfy the Mormon vote)
Jeff Johnson – Athabasca-Redwater (New blood)
Art Johnston – Calgary-Hays (rewarded for being the only MLA to support Redford on the first ballot)
Diana McQueen – Drayton Valley-Calmar (Supported Horner and is a rising star in the PC caucus)
Frank Oberle – Peace River (Stays in Solicitor General)
Verlyn Olsen – Wetaskiwin-Camrose (Justice Minister)
Luke Ouellette – Innisfail-Sylvan Lake (hugged Redford at today’s caucus meeting)
Janice Sarich – Edmonton-Decore (Education Minister)

Too soon to tell

Thomas Lukaszuk – Edmonton-Castle Downs
Lloyd Snelgrove – Vermilion-Lloydminster
Doug Elniski – Edmonton-Calder (supported Redford, but has made questionable comments on women’s rights)
Greg Weadick – Lethbridge-West
Len Webber – Calgary-Foothills
Manmeet Bhullar – Calgary-Montrose
Genia Leskiw – Bonnyville-Cold Lake
Lindsay Blackett – Calgary-North West
Gene Zwozdesky – Edmonton-Mill Creek (the fixer)

Will all these MLAs make into the provincial cabinet next week? Perhaps not, but it is always fun to speculate what might come next in the increasingly interesting the game of politics in Alberta…

28 thoughts on “cabinet building and the game of politics in alberta.

  1. Punch Jackson

    It is fun trying to second guess “the list”.
    We all have our favs & “would rather pass on” lists.

    Blackett is interesting given his ego and arrogance – he probably did everything on the to do list (Mandate letter) but how it was done is the question.

    Luke “the suit” “hugger” hmmmmmm

    Change our minds tomorrow

    Reply
  2. Central AB Correspondent

    Minor correction: Cal Dallas is Red Deer-South, Mary Anne Jablonski is Red Deer-North.

    Luke Ouellette, to put it delicately, is said to prize beverages that motivate hugs. Don’t read too much politically into it happening at a caucus meeting.

    Reply
  3. Important to note

    Lets not forget Elniski more recent “questionable comments” to a group of brain injury survivors as well!

    Reply
  4. John Moore

    I see Jonathan Dennis as attorney general and Kyle Fawcett as Minister of Municipal Affairs. Pretty sure Blackett is out for the anti-oil sands films mix up.

    Don’t count Liepert out yet though.

    Reply
  5. daveberta Post author

    Thanks for the link, Get Real.

    Boyd: You’re head may explode, then… I think Griffiths’ miscalculation will cost him. He placed last on the first ballot and then endorsed Gary Mar. It is my understanding that he was preparing to endorse Redford, but changed his mind at the final hour. His campaign team seemed to have migrated to Redford’s team while he went to Mar. His riding also went to Redford on the second ballot.

    Reply
  6. daveberta Post author

    John Moore: The challenge to appointing an Attorney General is that tradition stipulates that it be a lawyer. I believe there are only 4-5 lawyers in the PC caucus (including Redford who is Premier and Hancock, who was already Justice Minister). My prediction is that Olsen stays in Justice, a portfolio that he only filled when Redford stepped down to join the PC leadership contest.

    I’m not sure what to think of Denis’ future. He endorsed Morton, then Mar, yet his riding went to Redford both times.

    Reply
  7. Marlin Schmidt

    Where’s Rob Renner? Even though he supported Mar, he’s been a competent Environment minister, at least in comparison to the last couple.

    And Mel Knight? He’s been a vocal defender of the Land Use Framework, which Redford wants to put on hold.

    Reply
  8. Nick Parker

    You think its just that simple? Based on who supported who?

    I don’t think Olsen stays in Justice. He was a caretaker for a few months and didn’t do that well.

    Reply
  9. daveberta Post author

    Nick: Thanks for the comment. I don’t think anything about this is simple, but it is certainly a factor, along with the others that I wrote about in this post.

    There’s a chance that Olsen won’t stay in Justice. It’s all speculation at this point.

    Reply
  10. John Moore

    I suppose that if Denis is out for not delivering his riding, Weadick should also be off the list as he supported Horner and his constituency voted for Mar both times, no?

    Blackett also supported Horner and lost to Mar both times in his riding (quite handily too), so because he didn’t deliver his riding he should be removed from the list too.

    Reply
  11. David Ross

    Suggest that 2 from Edmonton is not enough, and 10 rural is too many in an 18-member cabinet. I suggest dropping Luke Ouellette (hugs are not enough!) and Robin Campbell. Add from Edmonton either Naresh Bhardwaj or Fred Horne. Also needed is a voice from southern Alberta, where Wildrose is popular. This could be Greg Weadick or Rob Renner (urban) or Evan Berger (rural). Renner has tried to keep Environment off the front page as best he can, but he may not be a “new face” the Premier wants.

    Reply
  12. Neal

    I expect to see a greater emphasis on gender balance, given a female premier. The PC caucus has some skilled female MLAs who haven’t had adequate time at the cabinet table, and the females Stelmach did appoint weren’t terribly good at their jobs. So hopefully Woo-Paw, McQueen, Calahasen and Sarich get in and Fritz, Klimchuk, Jablonski and Evans are “given a break” by being left out.

    Those changes alone would put a very different (and improved) skill set in cabinet.

    Reply
  13. Bob

    Calahasen and Sarich? Neal, what are you smoking? Klimchuk was a tremendous community activist before being elected and Iris has been an effective Minister since you were in short pants. Calahasen has been in the legislature 22 years and still can’t figure out when QP starts. Sarich is mostly concerned with herself, not her constituents. McQueen, on the other hand, MUST be there.

    Reply
  14. Pat

    Hayden needs to stay in Agriculture, he is the best minister in that portfolio in years. Agree with Bob on Calahasen, she pays no attention in question period, usually gabbing with her seating partner. Berger is not cabinet material, Renner is much better for the south or Len Mitzel.
    Hopefully Blackett is OUT. His arrogance is his downfall. Knight should consider retiring, as should Iris. Griffiths shows his immaturity at every turn and should not be in cabinet. Morton is best suited to the back bench !!!

    Reply
  15. Jay Michi

    Kyle Fawcett as a Minister?! My head will explode!

    Didn’t Art Johnson lose his constituency nomination? Isn’t he on his way out?

    Reply
  16. Pingback: alison redford’s first cabinet – who’s in? who’s out? | daveberta.ca - Alberta politics blog

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