Friday, December 15, 2006

And now you know why I don't play poker, folks.

The Premier announced his new Cabinet today and i've got some egg on my face. I managed to predict 10 of the 18 Ministers who were appointed today, but correctly matched only 3 of them with their new portfolios.

So thoughts... here we go:

Not a huge surprise to see Snelgrove in Cabinet. Although I didn't peg him directly, he was one of the "maybes" on the earlier list. His business background is likely why the Premier made him the taxpayer's watchdog (a la John Baird). The surprise here is that he's #2 in order of Cabinet precedence.

HON. DOUG HORNER (Advanced Ed/Technology)
Pegged him for a big cabinet post, so i'd like to say I was sorta close. Horner's a smart guy with a bright future. He'll do well here.

HON. IRIS EVANS (Employment, Immigration and Industry)
Was the head of Sturgeon County, arguably the site of the biggest growth Alberta will see in the next few years. Her time in Children's Services and Health have left some mixed reactions, so it'll be interesting to see what she does in this new role.

Called it! I know Mel and his work on this file... both are impeccable. Melchin was a good minister, but i'll bet there are a lot of people in the oilpatch who are smiling right now.

HON. DAVE HANCOCK (Health and Wellness)
I remember Health being a possibility for Hancock after the 2004 election but I hadn't heard much speculation on that front since. A high-profile portfolio, though... no one expected any different for Hancock.

HON. RAY DANYLUK (Municipal Affairs and Housing)
No surprise that Danyluk is at the table. I had called him for Agriculture, but this one makes sense too. He was a former Reeve of his county and his constituency of Lac La Biche-St.Paul includes the most dysfunctional municipal government in Alberta... I suspect the local boy will cure what ails them.

HON. RON LIEPERT (Education)
Completely out of left field. I had one guy telling me that this would be the reach-out to Dinning since Liepert was Dinning's #1 caucus coordinator, but I didn't believe it. I think I owe that fellow a beer. Liepert is a smart guy and should do very well in this role.

HON. JANIS TARCHUK (Children's Services)
Another surprise. Janis' name was bandied about as a possibility, but I wasn't putting a lot of stock in it. Still, she's been a highly under-utilized member of caucus... someone who speaks only when she has something intelligent to say, which is refreshing. A solid person in a tricky Ministry, should be good news for the folks in Children's Services.

HON. ROB RENNER (Environment)
Called him for cabinet, but not this portfolio. It makes sense, though, given that he's from the dryest part of the province and Water For Life is going to be a huge issue for the ministry. Seems that Rob has a habit of taking over things from Guy Boutilier... PC Youth Caucus Liason... Municipal Affairs... now Environment.

This was another one of my possible musings early on that didn't get included in my final list. George's agricultural pedigree is outstanding and, given the importance of Agriculture to southern Alberta, its not a surprise it shifted to a southerner.

This was the bombshell. Many people were hoping that Oberg wouldn't get a very senior position... not so, it seems. Oberg was touted as having the most detailed plans during the leadership race, so that may have swayed Premier Stelmach in his deliberations.

HON. LUKE OUELLETTE (Infrastructure and Transportation)
Called it! It makes perfect sense for all the reasons I outlined in the last post.

HON. RON STEVENS (Justice and Attorney General)
Called it! And, again, was the most logical choice for the job. No Deputy Premier title, but it looks like no one gets that anymore.

HON. GREG MELCHIN (Seniors and Community Supports)
I had Greg pegged to be dumped, but am glad to see I was wrong. He's a competent minister, I just figured he was too close to Dinning. The new portfolio is a demotion, no question, but Greg's conviction towards community service and helping others will likely make him an excellent minister here.

HON. GUY BOUTILIER (International, Intergovernmental and Aboriginal Affairs)
YES! I WAS WRONG! It will be interesting to see the approach Guy takes as Alberta's new Chief Diplomat and with the former department of Aboriginal Affairs. Guy staying in cabinet sends a signal from the Premier that he understands how important our Fort McMurray issues are to the rest of the province.

HON. TED MORTON (Sustainable Resource Development)
I almost had the portfolio pegged, so i'm not surprised to see him in here. What IS surprising (and what has the Morton folks fuming mad) is that he is third from the bottom on the order of precedence. This could be seen as a slap in the face and may make things a bit difficult internally with the Morton folks. It'll also be interesting to see what, if any, action "Ranger Ted" (hat tip to Chris and William) takes on the Metis Harvesting Agreement and if that'll cause any friction between him and Boutilier.

HON. FRED LINDSAY (Solicitor General and Public Safety)
I have to say this one dissapoints me. Not that I have anything against Fred Lindsay... I don't know him but i'm sure he's a good man. I just thought that Harvey Cenaiko was such a supurb Minister in this portfolio. Dumping Cenaiko was the biggest mistake made in constructing the new cabinet.

HON. HECTOR GOUDREAU (Tourism, Parks, Recreation, and Culture)
If the last one dissapointed me, this one elates me! I figured Premier Stelmach would want 2 voices from the northwest part of Alberta, but I pegged the non-Grande Prairie one to be Ivan Strang given his seniority in caucus. That said, Hector Goudreau is one of the brightest lights in the Tory caucus. Like Janis Tarchuk, he only opens his mouth when he has something intelligent to say and that is most admirable. Felicitations a mon ami Hector, un maudit bon gars!

  • I'm surprised at the lack of women in cabinet... now down to just two: Iris Evans and Janis Tarchuk. Demographic considerations must not have played highly in the Premier's deliberations. Reaction to this will be interesting to watch.
  • Two major Alberta cities, Lethbridge and Red Deer, are without cabinet representation. This will, no doubt, cause an uproar in both cities.
  • The two big cities, Edmonton and Calgary, only have 4 Ministers between them. Being a rural/suburban guy, I suspect the Premier crafted cabinet more on regional (Capital, Calgary areas) lines rather than distinguishing Edmonton and Calgary from its neighbours. This, like the Red Deer/Lethbridge thing, could cause some difficulties.
  • A lot of new faces around the table who should have some fresh ideas and energy to burn... I look forward to seeing how they do.


  1. Why censor comments?

  2. Iris was Reeve of Strathcona County ;-)

    And to Glen: Ted is a strong conservationist, and will perform well in this portfolio. I'm just a bit disappointed he wasn't given something a little more prominent.

  3. Sturgeon... Strathcona... they're all gonna be part of Edmonton soon anyway ;)