Prentice shrinks Alberta cabinet, appoints two outsiders

Newly sworn-in Alberta Premier Jim Prentice has appointed a new but smaller cabinet, including two people who aren’t members of the legislature.

EDMONTON — Newly sworn-in Alberta Premier Jim Prentice has appointed a new but smaller cabinet, including two people who aren’t members of the legislature.

“As of this moment, Alberta is under new management,” Prentice said Monday. “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.”

The new cabinet has 16 ministers and three associate ministers, in addition to the premier, down from 19 ministers and 10 associate ministers under former premier Alison Redford. Prentice is also taking on the aboriginal affairs and intergovernmental affairs portfolios.

The outsiders include former Edmonton mayor Stephen Mandel and Gordon Dirks, a former member of the Calgary Board of Education.

Mandel will serve as health minister while Dirks has been appointed education minister.

Only a few members of the previous cabinet remain in the inner circle, including Ric McIver, who ran against Prentice for the Progressive Conservative leadership.

Robin Campbell has been promoted to finance minister from environment and sustainable resource development.

Diana McQueen moves from energy to municipal affairs and Frank Oberle takes over energy.

Former cabinet ministers Doug Horner (finance), Fred Horne (health) and Doug Griffiths (Service Alberta) and Thomas Lukaszuk (Job Skills and Training) are now backbenchers, although Horner was appointed to a special post – outside cabinet – as special adviser on international issues to the premier.

Prentice said Mandel and Dirks will seek seats in byelections.

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