Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Out on a limb

Premier-designate Stelmach released a backgrounder explaining the new look of Alberta's ministries. The new structure reduces the size of cabinet from 24 to 18 ministers (19 including the Premier) and eliminates the Standing Policy Committees.

I like it!

The detailed backgrounders can be found here. I offer for you, now, a listing of Alberta's 19 new Cabinet posts:

1. Premier
2. President of the Treasury Board, Minister for Service Alberta
3. Advanced Education and Technology
4. Municipal Affairs and Housing
5. Energy
6. Health and Wellness
7. Employment, Immigration and Industry
8. Education
9. Children's Services
10. Environment
11. Agriculture and Food
12. Finance
13. Infrastructure and Transportation
14. Justice and Attorney General
15. Seniors and Community Supports
16. International, Intergovernmental and Aboriginal Relations
17. Sustainable Resource Development
18. Solicitor General and Public Safety
19. Tourism, Parks, Recreation and Culture

I'm also going to go out on a limb and make my final predictions for the first Stelmach cabinet. I suspect some of these will be wrong, but it's the best educated guess I can muster given what i've been able to gather from various sources and my own speculation.

Premier of Alberta
HON. ED STELMACH (Fort Saskatchewan-Vegreville)
Rationale: He won the Leadership race ;)

President of the Treasury Board, Minister of Service Alberta
Rationale: Was a leadership contestant, has a solid accounting background, returns Red Deer to the Cabinet table.

Minister of Advanced Education and Technology
HON. DAVE HANCOCK (Edmonton-Whitemud)
Rationale: Backed Ed and delivered for him in his constituency. Was a strong Minister for this portfolio before he had to step down. Given that he was the "education candidate", there are probably some things he'd like to finish.

Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing
HON. ROB RENNER (Medicine Hat)
Rationale: Although he backed Dinning, so did the other MLA for the Medicine Hat area. Given the choice, Stelmach will keep the current area Minister and leave him in his current role.

Minister of Energy
HON. MEL KNIGHT (Grande Prairie-Smoky)
Rationale: Backed Ed whereas his fellow GP MLA Gord Graydon backed Dinning. Knight has a very strong background in the energy sector and is known for his work on this file across North America.

Minister of Health and Wellness
HON. IRIS EVANS (Sherwood Park)
Rationale: Backed Ed from the get-go. Likely has her picks of portfolios, but what other high-profile job would a former nurse rather have?

Minister of Employment, Immigration and Industry
HON. CLINT DUNFORD (Lethbridge West)
Rationale: Same as Renner, except the other Lethbridge MLA is a Liberal. Returns to his old portfolio with new responsibilities.

Minister of Education
HON. PEARL CALAHASEN (Lesser Slave Lake)
Rationale: Backed Ed on the 2nd ballot and delivered. Was the natural choice for Aboriginal Affairs when it was stand-alone, but now that its been lumped together with IIR it can go to a number of different people. Calahasen has a Master's Degree in Education and has likely been wanting to prove she can handle a bigger job.

Minister of Children's Services
HON. CAROL HALEY (Airdrie-Chestermere)
Rationale: Too many people have told me that she is heading to cabinet for me to discount it. Carol is well-liked by the new Premier and has been waiting patiently for a promotion for many years.

Minister of Environment
HON. TED MORTON (Foothills-Rockyview)
Rationale: This is the perfect Ministry to give to Dr. Morton. Its a high enough profile that he and his supporters won't feel like they've been shuffled off to the back, and its a department which Dr. Morton has expressed strong interest in for many years as a conservationist. His environmentally-sensitive riding in the foothills seals the deal.

Minister of Agriculture and Food
HON. RAY DANYLUK (Lac La Biche-St. Paul)
Rationale: Was home to the 2nd highest number of votes for Stelmach in Alberta. Has a solid agricultural background and is well-liked and respected around the caucus table.

Minister of Finance
HON. DOUG HORNER (Spruce Grove-Sturgeon-St. Albert)
Rationale: Backed Ed on the 2nd ballot and delivered. Has proven to be a competent Minister and has a solid understanding of Finance. The name "Horner" alone inspires confidence in Alberta.

Minister of Infrastructure and Transportation
HON. LUKE OUELLETTE (Innisfail-Sylvan Lake)
Rationale: Was the 2nd biggest name in Ed's basket at the start and is itching (and deserving) to take over a real Ministry. Is exceptionally loyal to the new Premier and represents a corridor constituency.

Minister of Justice and Attorney General
HON. RON STEVENS (Calgary Glenmore)
Rationale: Has been the biggest Calgary name bandied about. Is also one of the very few lawyers in caucus, an absolute requirement for this portfolio. Stevens will be seen as the Dinning connection to Calgary and will likely be a vital part of the team. If the Deputy Premier title remains intact, expect it to be awarded here.

Minister of Seniors and Community Supports
HON. YVONNE FRITZ (Calgary Cross)
Rationale: Supported Dinning as well, but doesn't seem to be nearing retirement as Heather Forsyth is. With only 2 Calgary women in cabinet, Fritz will be the one that Stelmach keeps. She'll also keep her relatively low-profile job.

Minister of International, Intergovernmental, and Aboriginal Relations
HON. LYLE OBERG (Strathmore-Brooks)
Rationale: A lot of people were wondering what Stelmach could give Lyle without pissing off a bunch of people... this is likely his best bet. The IIR portion seen as high-profile, but is largely caretaking, given that its the Premier who truly speaks for Alberta on important issues. Lyle can also handle the Aboriginal Affairs portion given that he was endorsed by both an Aboriginal group and the current minister of Aboriginal Affairs.

Minister of Sustainable Resource Development
HON. IVAN STRANG (West Yellowhead)
Rationale: Backed Ed. Has a keen interest in issues in the SRD portfolio given his riding. Is a solid member of caucus and has patiently awaited a deserved promotion.

Solicitor General and Minister of Public Safety
HON. HARVEY CENAIKO (Calgary Buffalo)
Rationale: Has been brilliant in this portfolio. Represents a downtown Calgary riding, exactly the people that the new Premier will have the hardest time connecting with. Is also a relatively fresh face in caucus and cabinet.

Minister of Tourism, Parks, Culture and Recreation
HON. GENE ZWOZDESKY (Edmonton Mill Creek)
Rationale: A few people say they think the Zwoz will get the boot, but i'm not sure how the new Premier can rationalize having only one minister from Edmonton-proper. This is a demotion for Zwozdesky, but to most of a portfolio which he held and excelled in before the last election.

The notable exception on this list, you may notice, is my own MLA and good friend Guy Boutilier. I would like to stress that these are my best guesses for Cabinet, not necessarily my hopes. I think it would be very unfortunate for Premier Stelmach not to have cabinet representation for the economic engine of Alberta. That said, I have simply heard from too wide a variety of people that Guy will be demoted... it was impossible to ignore in my deliberations. That said, I REALLY REALLY hope i'm wrong.

1 comment:

  1. Do you think that the new structure of the Standing Policy Committees is distressing?

    In his campaign Stelmach promised to move to all party committees (like every other jurisdiction in Canada), he explicitly reneged on that pledge yesterday.

    Backbenchers are now also denied a voice on the Standing Policy Committees as well.