I briefly touched on this point in my previous post, but the potential for a cabinet shuffle before the fall session of the Legislative Assembly begins in October seems imminent after yesterday’s results in the Calgary-Glenmore by-election. I started hearing serious rumours of a cabinet shuffle during the spring session of the Assembly. They mostly began following the announcement of the deficit in the 2009 provincial budget and intensified following the controversy over Bill 44.
A shuffle within Finance & Enterprise is the rumour I’ve heard most frequently. With Minister Iris Evans being in the most unfortunate position to have tabled Alberta’s first deficit budget in 15 years, it wouldn’t be completely shocking if Premier Ed Stelmach wanted this position shuffled. Sources close to a PC cabinet minister have told me that Advanced Education & Technology Minister Doug Horner is seen as the natural fit for this position. Horner is well-respected and has been a competent Minister in his current portfolio.
The resignation of Deputy Premier Ron Stevens left Stelmach without a recognized Calgary Lieutenant in his cabinet. Although she doesn’t have the type of corporate Calgary credentials as Stevens, I could see the Deputy Premier role being filled by Justice Minister Alison Redford.
With Children’s Services Minister Janis Tarchuk reaching the end of her political rope, Evans could easily be shuffled back into the Children’s Services portfolio, an position that she passionately filled from 1999 to 2004.
For Advanced Education & Technology, I have heard a number of names floated including PC backbenchers Len Webber, Janice Sarich, Doug Griffiths, Jonathan Denis, Dave Rodney, and cabinet ministers Heather Klimchuk and Ted Morton. I have a difficult time believing that Morton would be moved from Sustainable Resource Development (a ministry where he is recognized as being competent), the results of the Calgary-Glenmore by-election make it likely that a Calgary MLA will be picked.
I’m told that many inside Stelmach’s inner circle take great joy in comparing themselves to the government of Peter Lougheed. If this is a motivator, I could easily see both Horner and Webber, two second generation PC MLAs whose father’s served in Lougheed’s government, be appointed to elevated positions around the cabinet table.
UPDATE: Len Webber has been appointed Minister of Intergovernmental and International Affairs. This appears to be Premier Stelmach’s only new appointment to the Cabinet.
Further UPDATE: From the GOA:
Premier Stelmach also named Calgary-Egmont MLA Jonathan Denis as the new Parliamentary Assistant for Energy. Cardston-Taber-Warner MLA Broyce Jacobs becomes the Parliamentary Assistant for Agriculture and Rural Development (ARD). And Battle River-Wainwright MLA Doug Griffiths moves from his role as the Parliamentary Assistant in ARD to become the Parliamentary Assistant for the Department of Solicitor General and Public Security.