Jim Prentice has become Alberta’s 16th premier.
In a ceremony at Government House in Edmonton, Prentice made clear that the government was under new leadership by tossing out many loyal supporters of former premier Alison Redford, who resigned in March of this year because of a spending scandal.
“This is a new government with new leadership, new voices and a new way of doing things. Today, and in the days and weeks to come, we will take strong and decisive action to bring real and tangible change to the way in which Alberta is governed,” Prentice said during his first official speech as premier.
Prentice reduced the size of the cabinet to 20 ministers, including associate ministers.
Prentice will also serve as minister of International and Intergovernmental affairs and Aboriginal Relations.
Prentice was minister of Northern Development and Aboriginal Affairs during his stint in federal cabinet.
In some of the biggest moves of the shuffle, Doug Horner (former minister of Finance) Fred Horne (former minister of Health), Doug Griffiths (former minister of Service Alberta), Cal Dallas (fomer minister of Internaitonal and Intergovern- mental Relations), Thomas Lukaszuk (former minister of Skills, Jobs, Training, and Labour), are all out as cabinet ministers.
Vermilion-Lloydminster MLA Richard Starke, who had become the minister of Tourism, Parks and Recreation in 2012 under Redford, also was removed from cabinet.
He will sit as a backbencher, but he will not lose all his sway in the political arena, as he is heading to the Treasury Board, which looks after budgetary issues in the province of Alberta.
New members include former Edmonton mayor Stephen Mandel, who will head up the Health file, but will also need to be elected as an MLA.
Many are expecting him to run in the now vacant seat of Edmonton-Whitemud where former premier Dave Hancock has served as an MLA since the 1990s.
Former Saskatchewan MLA and Grant Devine cabinet minister, Gordon Dirks takes over the position of minister of Education.
Dirks has served as a board member of the Calgary Board of Education.
Dirks is expected to run in Calgary-Elbow a riding that was once held by Redford.
Prentice said that two of the ministers that he appointed today, who are currently non-elected MLAs, will run in byelections before the legislature resumes.
“Two of our new members don’t sit in the legislature. They are held in high regards,” he said.
“They are sharp political minds that Alberta needs. Both will face the people in byelections that are to be called soon.”
Robin Campbell, who was minister of Environment under Redford and Hancock, has the task of getting the budget under control with the announcement of him taking over the position of Finance and president of the Treasury Board.
Energy minister Diana McQueen, got a demotion and has moved to Municipal Affairs. McQueen was mayor of Drayton Valley before entering provincial politics.
Former Education minister Jeff Johnson was also demoted to a small position of minister of Seniors in the Prentice cabinet.
Richard Starke’s old portfolio of Parks, Recreation and Tourism was merged with the Ministry of Culture. It will be headed up by Maureen Kubinec.
Ric McIver, who ran against Prentice for the leadership, took over the position of Jobs, Skills, Training and Labour minister, a position that Thomas Lukaszuk held before announcing his entrance into the leadership race.
During Prentice’s speech, he said that the ways of the past are over and that this cabinet would be focused on what was important to the people of Alberta.
“Good government begins with the people, each MLA will be expected to serve as a strong voice for the people they represent,” he said, adding that the new PC government will make sure the priorities of the government are those of the people of Alberta.
“Albertans recognize that there is a key priority to move forward with issues that are important to our province and our country,” he said.
Prentice announced during his speech that the legislature would be prorogued so that a speech from the throne can be read, “And allow the new MLAs (who run in byelections) to sit in the legislature,” he said.
For full reaction and local comments on yesterday’s cabinet shuffle, check