Alberta Politics

Two rookies turfed from Tory cabinet.

New Tourism Minister Richard Starke, and departing cabinet ministers Stephen Khan and Christine Cusanelli.
New Tourism Minister Richard Starke, and departing cabinet ministers Stephen Khan and Christine Cusanelli.

In an unexpected move, Premier Alison Redford shuffled two rookie cabinet ministers out of her cabinet yesterday morning. Advanced Education & Enterprise Minister Stephen Khan (MLA St. Albert) and Tourism Minister Christine Cusanelli (MLA Calgary-Currie) were both appointed to cabinet in May 2012.

Deputy Premier Thomas Lukaszuk
Deputy Premier Thomas Lukaszuk

Mr. Khan’s time in cabinet was largely seen as reserved and underwhelming. Ms. Cusanelli caused an unwelcome stir when she was forced to repay the government $10,600 for expenses made in her first five months in office, including $4,000 in airfare to have her daughter and mother join her at the 2012 Summer Olympics in London, United Kingdom. She was also given the unenviable task of defending the government’s large line of hospitality expenses at the London Games.

Ms. Cusanelli’s ministerial office was recently shuffled with the hiring of Chief of Staff Tammy Forbes, who previously served as the Premier’s media liaison, and press secretary Andrew Fisher, who previously served as Chief of Staff.

Replacing Mr. Khan is Deputy Premier Thomas Lukaszuk, who has been operating without an official cabinet portfolio since before last year’s election. First-term MLA Richard Starke, representing Vermilion-Lloydminster, has been tapped to replace Ms. Cusanelli as Minister of Tourism.


Minister Starke’s constituency has a long history of electing MLAs who later served as cabinet ministers.

First to the Tory cabinet was Lloydminster MLA Bud Miller served as the Minister of Public Lands and Wildlife in Premier Peter Lougheed‘s cabinet from 1979 to 1982.

Directly preceding Minister Starke was Lloyd Snelgrove, who was MLA from 2001 to 2012 and served in a number of portfolios during Premier Ed Stelmach‘s time in office, including a period of Minister of Finance. Citing irreconcilable differences, Mr. Snelgrove left the PC caucus to sit as an Independent MLA following Premier Redford’s successful leadership bid.

Preceding Mr. Snelgrove was Steve West, who served as the constituency’s MLA from 1986 to 2001 and served in a number of cabinet portfolios during Premier Ralph Klein‘s time in office, including Minister of Finance.

(Judging from historical trends, you might think there is a good chance that Minister Starke could one day be Minister of Finance).

13 replies on “Two rookies turfed from Tory cabinet.”

With a new Iron Man movie coming out is the Premier trying to capitalize on the luster of the Stark family name?

Cuzunelli learned the hard way not to take taxpayers for granted, this is a good move, we need worker ants in cabinet not grasshoppers. I think the last thing on this premiers mind is trying to capitalize on some stupid Hollywood movie or some phoney actors name, or whatever the adolescents are horny about this week, that was the last premier who flew the Hollywood idiot arount the sands so he could go back to Idiotville and make another fairy tale for the adolescents to waste money on. This premier is about business.

As bartinsky says, Alison Redford “is about business”–business as usual, that is. She’s a spend-and-cut tory in the tradition of Ralph Klein.

Jay- Redford is about cut and spend!!!!!!!!!!!!! Really!!!!! last time I looked it was about spend, spend, spend!!

Glad Cusinelli is gone- she was never cabinet material

I thought my friend Thomas was in charge of hair! Wow wonder what he will do with secondary education?

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