Thousands of Albertans packed the Legislature Grounds for the swearing-in ceremony of Premier Rachel Notley and Alberta’s first NDP Cabinet. This marked the first time in 44 years that a party other than the Progressive Conservatives were sworn-in to office and the event felt more like an outdoor festival than a protocol-ruled government ceremony. The hot weather, live music, free ice cream, food trucks and wading pools helped contribute to this atmosphere, but there was an unmistakable feeling of excitement and optimism in the sea of onlookers. It was really unlike anything I have experienced in my ten years writing about politics in this province. This crowd was cheering for Alberta.
Along with serving as Premier, Ms. Notley is also responsible for the Ministry of International and Intergovernmental Relations, a double role that her predecessors Ralph Klein and Jim Prentice also took responsibility for. The three other incumbent NDP MLAs, Brian Mason, Deron Bilous and David Eggen, were appointed to senior roles and first-term Edmonton MLAs Sarah Hoffman and Lori Sigurdson were also named to cabinet.
The new 12-member cabinet has an equal number of women and men, and while half of its MLAs represent Edmonton constituencies, ministers from rural Alberta, Lethbridge and Calgary have been given important responsibilities.
Former Calgary Alderman Joe Ceci is Finance Minister and Treasury Board President, Calgary-Buffalo MLA Kathleen Ganley is Justice Minister, Lethbridge-West MLA Shannon Phillips is Environment Minister, Dunvegan-Central Peace-Notley MLA Marg McCuaig-Boyd is Energy Minister, Whitecourt-Ste. Anne MLA Oneil Carlier is Agriculture and Forestry Minister, and Calgary-McCall MLA Irfan Sabir is Minister of Human Services.
The new cabinet will hold its first meetings in Calgary on May 27 and 28.
It was reported on social media this weekend that the NDP Caucus will nominate Medicine Hat MLA Bob Wanner as Speaker of the Assembly when MLAs convene to replace Speaker Gene Zwozdesky on June 11. Mr. Wanner is the former commissioner of public services at the City of Medicine Hat and worked as a professional mediator before he was elected. The Speech from the Throne will be read by recently appointed Lieutenant Governor Lois Mitchell on June 15.
Here is a list of the new cabinet ministers:
Rachel Notley (Edmonton-Strathcona): Premier of Alberta and Minister of International and Intergovernmental Relations
Brian Mason (Edmonton-Highlands-Norwood): Minister of Infrastructure, Minister of Transportation, Government House Leader
David Eggen (Edmonton-Calder): Minister of Education, Minister of Culture and Tourism
Deron Bilous (Edmonton-Beverly-Clareview): Minister of Municipal Affairs, Minister of Service Alberta, Deputy Government House Leader
Joe Ceci (Calgary-Fort): President of Treasury Board, Minister of Finance
Marg McCuaig-Boyd (Dunvegan-Central Peace-Notley): Minister of Energy
Sarah Hoffman (Edmonton-Glenora): Minister of Health, Minister of Seniors
Kathleen Ganley (Calgary-Buffalo): Minister of Justice and Solicitor General, Minister of Aboriginal Relations
Lori Sigurdson (Edmonton-Riverview): Minister of Innovation and Advanced Education, Minister of Jobs, Skills, Training and Labour
Oneil Carlier (Whitecourt-Ste. Anne): Minister of Agriculture, Forestry and Rural Development
Shannon Phillips (Lethbridge-West): Minister of Environment and Sustainable Resource Development, Minister of Parks and Recreation, Minister Responsible for the Status of Women, Deputy Government House Leader
Irfan Sabir (Calgary-McCall): Minister of Human Services
Tory requests Judicial Recount in Glenmore
The last outstanding race of the May 5 provincial election will face a judicial recount. The election in Calgary-Glenmore was tied on election night and the official count showed NDP candidate Anam Kazim six votes ahead of Progressive Conservative candidate Linda Johnson. Ms. Johnson, who served one-term as an MLA after her election in 2012, has requested a judicial recount.