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Wednesday, January 13, 2010

alberta cabinet shuffle: a lot of hype.

I am not going to write a lot about today's cabinet shuffle, as there really is not much substance to write about. While three new MLAs have been appointed to the cabinet, the problems facing Premier Ed Stelmach are much larger than anything a minor cabinet shuffle can solve. Today's cabinet change was hardly the dramatic change that it was hyped to be.

Going political and trying to head off the insurgent Wildrose Alliance at the hard-conservative pass was one goal of today's shuffle. This explains the appointment of Ted Morton as Finance Minister. If he can survive in Finance, Premier Stelmach may have just anointed Morton as his unofficial successor. Minister Morton will have a high-profile new role, but much of the Government's financial levers will remain held by Stelmach-loyalist and Treasury Board President Lloyd Snelgrove.

Newly appointed Housing and Urban Affairs & Housing Minister Jonathan Denis is known as nice guy, but also as a pretty comfortable hyper-partisan. Some people I have spoken with expect him to fulfil a political role similar to his former business partner, Pierre Poilievre.

Loyalty was big. Stelmach confidants Luke Ouellette, Ray Danyluk, Iris Evans, and Mel Knight all remain in cabinet. George Groeneveld, Janis Tarchuk, and Fred Lindsay were rightfully bumped out of the cabinet. Not surprisingly, Ron Liepert's departed Health & Wellness to Energy. Where, as Paula Simons suggested that "he'll use his unique brand of charm to win new friends and influence more people." His successor, Gene Zwozdesky will likely bring a more easy going face to one of the more heavy-lifting portfolios in government.

Look for more substantive content in the Ministerial Mandate Letters later this week and the February 9 Provincial Budget.


Anonymous said...

Great points, Dave. No new policy. No new changes.

Jason Ragan - A trvthseeker said...

It's the mandate letters that have me a bit worried. Is it business as normal for the civil service or does Eddie have some surprises in store for the people who deliver services to Albertans?

Anonymous said...

Ed and his inner circle once again prove they can't do anything right.

One of the "new" faces has been around so long we're sick of looking at him and his haircut.

Zwozdesky's constant brown-nosing has finally paid dividends I guess. Interesting to see if he can get a grip on that mess.

As noted, most of Stelmach's rural cronies/supporters (the not-so-magnificent 7) remain entrenched in their high-paying jobs. Based on both performance and politics, how can people like Knight and Oullette still be in Cabinet? And that list of weak performers could get pretty long pretty fast.

As Dave mentioned, most people will know that Morton gets to read the budget but not really make the budget.

Deputy Premier Horner? Capable guy but not sure that sends the right signal.

This doesn't really send any signal to the disaffected right in Alberta that the PCs are serious or competent. No real new direction here. No statement. More a random "shuffle" than a strategic selection.

Smith and the WRA must be giggling right now. Now if only she'd stop denying climate change.

Anonymous said...

I am thrilled. Zwozdesky will now be a target come next election. Finally a chance to remove the turncoat, floor crosser. On the other hand, with former Liberals Zwozdesky and Sherman in the portfolio... ah, forget it.

Anonymous said...

The lack of diversity is shocking. Ed has a good amount of diversity in caucus but cabinet is starting to become the all white-male show.

Their benches will look like a 1950's Detroit bus, with all the women and minorities sitting at the back.

Anonymous said...

How was Zwozdesky as Minister?

Miyata said...

Ron Liepert is off to an interesting start and I'll wait for Dave's approval of his comments in the Globe.

It would be interesting the hear the criticism of Duckett if he wasn't a white-male foreigner with a funny accent. The personal attacks on that guy are unreal.

Anonymous said...

How is Denis going to be as a minister?

Anonymous said...

So how much does Janis Tarchuk hate Rachel Notley right now?

Ed's Hillbillies said...

So Jed Clampett became the finance minister.

His plan for balancing the budget will be to take Lipert and go shoot at the ground until some crude comes a bubbling out