“I, Rachel Notley, do solemnly and sincerely promise and swear that I will duly and faithfully, and to the best of my skill and knowledge, execute the powers and trust reposed in me as president of executive council and minister of international and intergovernmental relations in the province of Alberta.”
And with these words Alberta’s 17th premier, Rachel Notley, was sworn into office. The crowd outside the Alberta legislature where the ceremony took place responded with cheers as the province’s first NDP government officially took office on May 23.
Because the legislature is located on Treaty 6 territory, Notley wanted the First Nations and MÃ©tis communities involved in the day’s proceedings. Near the beginning of the swearing-in event, John MacDonald, a MÃ©tis elder and Canadian military veteran, offered a traditional prayer followed by Rocky Morin from the Enoch Cree Nation performing an honour song for those in attendance.
Shortly after, Notley took her oath and swore in her 11 new ministers. A decidedly small cabinet she referred to as “efficient and lean,” Notley said they were ready to get down to work and deliver results.
The new cabinet is comprised of the following: Brian Mason (transportation and infrastructure), David Eggen (education and culture and tourism), Deron Bilous (municipal affairs, Service Alberta), Joe Ceci (finance and president of treasury board), Marg McCuaig-Boyd (energy), Sarah Hoffman (seniors and health), Kathleen Ganley (justice and solicitor general and aboriginal relations), Lori Sigurdson (innovation and advanced education and jobs, skills, training and labour), Oneil Carlier (agriculture and forestry), Shannon Phillips (environment and parks, responsible for status of women, deputy government house leader), Irfan Sabir (human services).
“Albertans have elected a remarkable team of women and men to serve our province. The new members of your legislative assembly embody hope and optimism and they bring rich and diverse experiences of Alberta life to this building,” said Notley.
“Your new MLAs include accomplished leaders in our communities, in business and in public life. They are social workers and nurses, teachers and doctors, community activists and students. Young and older, gay and straight and more women than ever before.”
The premier said she and her ministers will listen to citizens to gain their trust and to make good on the party’s commitments. Promises to work collaboratively with other parties and to “reach out across the isle to our friends and colleagues in the opposition” were also made, with Notley assuring it would serve the best interests of the province.
She also recognized that the drop in oil prices has affected all communities within Alberta and that many citizens are having difficulties paying the bills. “I know and you know our province can do better,” she said.
“So on this historic day we are once again joining together in pursuit of our common dream. The same dream that has inspired generations of Albertans. A dream founded on the idea that change is possible and that a better future awaits. Friends, it is spring time in Alberta and a fresh wind is blowing.”