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Thursday, March 13, 2008

planning a cabinet (shuffle).

Here are some thoughts on Ed Stelmach's recently announced cabinet, which looks more like a cabinet shuffle, as it includes most of the pre-election cabinet. I can imagine that choosing a cabinet is probably one of the more difficult decisions that a Premier has to make during his (and maybe someday: her) time in office, but that won't stop me from offering some thoughts...

- Ed Stelmach gets points for bringing some diversity and colour to cabinet for a change.

- Fort McMurray-Wood Buffalo Tory Guy Boutilier got the boot from cabinet.

- It must suck to be Edmonton-Castle Downs Tory MLA Thomas Lukaszuk, who was passed over for a real cabinet spot by rookie Edmonton-Glenora MLA Heather Klimchuk.

- With Sherwood Park Tory Iris Evans as the new Minister of Finance and Enterprise, I wonder if Strathcona County will be getting that veto she was talking about...

- Speaking of regional cooperation... Edmonton kept quiet and played nice over the last year, while Calgarians through a fit, and now Edmonton ends up with half the number of full cabinet spots as Calgary. Perhaps Mayor Mandel might want to try out a new strategy for provincial relations.

Paul Simons put it well today...

When Calgary votes Tory and Edmonton votes Liberal, Edmonton gets fewer cabinet seats.

When Calgary elects more Liberals than Edmonton -- Edmonton still gets fewer cabinet seats.

- Parliamentary Assistants abound. Other than that it would probably make more sense to call them Legislative Assistants (or Secretaries), this looks like a cabinet structure borrowed from Gordon Campbell's BC Liberals from when they won their 77 out of 79 seats in 2001 (except, I think they called them "Ministers of State"). The Parliamentary Assistants position is not only a good way for the Tories to train future cabinet ministers, but also a way to keep MLAs busy in the newly supersized caucus. Bringing Janice Sarich and Raj Sherman into these positions was a good move.

- Dave Hancock's move to Education from Health could be seen as a demotion, but it could also be an opportunity to actually get things accomplished in Education (though I think Hancock would have been a much better choice for Finance). I'll be keeping an eye on how Hancock moves on the proliferation of P3s in Alberta's education system.

- Moving Ron Stevens to Intergovernmental Affairs signals is an interesting move by the Tories in their brewing battle against the Federal Tories on the environment file. Interestingly, Stevens' Calgary-Glenmore constituency is also part of Prime Minister Stephen Harper's Calgary-Southwest riding.

Check out CalgaryGrit and the Official AGRDT 'Alberta's new cabinet' post for some more commentary on the cabinet shuffle.


Anonymous said...

Calgary gets what Calgary wants.

I'm puzzled as to why Stelmach wouldn't solidify his Edmonton wins by giving Edmonton more cabinet spots after Calgary elected more Liberals. The PCs only won 40% of the vote in Edmonton and giving the capital a larger voice would have been a more politically savvy move.

Anonymous said...

Stelmach's cabinet may be diverse, but are there any blind cabinet ministers?,2933,337171,00.html

Anonymous said...

New Provincial Deputy Minister Team Announced:

The real organizational power in various departments don't just rest Ministers but with their Deputies.

Analysis on the changes in Deputies is needed and should be expanded upon Dave

Anonymous said...

There were only three returning PC MLAs in Edmonton, so unless you are lookin to appoint more rookies, it would be difficult to appoint more ministers. Just because Lukazcuk was returning, does not in itself qualify him for cabinet. He was made a Parliamentary Assistant.

And, just like last time, Paula Simons ignores the fact that Iris Evans, Doug Horner, Fred Lindsay and the Premier are right on Edmonton's borders. Effectively calling them "rural" just because they lie outside Edmonton's city limits is silly. I am sure the people who live in expensive bedroom communities like Sherwood Park would take exception to that characterization.

Edmonton Capital Region gets 7 ministers, Calgary gets 6 (7 if include Morton who lives in Calgary and whose riding is on the city limits). As Don Braid in the Calgary Herald said, you would need a sensitive instrument to find an imbalance here.

Anonymous said...

Can you imagine what it's going to cost the average taxpayer to have 10 Parliamentary Assistants here in Alberta?

I mean just the cost of flying them back and forth to Ottawa is going to be staggering!