Redford must fill key cabinet posts

EDMONTON — Alberta Premier Alison Redford will fill vacancies in the key portfolios of finance, energy, and agriculture today when she is expected to announce her new cabinet.

EDMONTON — Alberta Premier Alison Redford will fill vacancies in the key portfolios of finance, energy, and agriculture today when she is expected to announce her new cabinet.

If she keeps the cabinet at 21 members, five replacements are needed due to resignations or defeats in last month’s election.

The remaining 16 won their ridings and political scientist Keith Brownsey said he doesn’t expect a major shakeup.

“They’ve proven loyal, they’ve won their seats and you want to reward those people — but then that’s just one factor in all of this,” said Brownsey, with Mount Royal University in Calgary.

Former energy minister Ted Morton, who was defeated by the Wildrose party in Chestermere-Rocky View, was the highest profile cabinet casualty. He was taken out as the Wildrose marched through the rural south, taking every seat and leaving Redford’s Progressive Conservatives with two MLAs in the region, both in Lethbridge.

Tory southerner Evan Berger, the agriculture minister, and Jack Hayden, the tourism minister from Stettler, also went down to defeat.

In the north, former transportation minister Ray Danyluk was defeated by the Wildrose in the riding of Lac La Biche-St. Paul-Two Hills.

Finance minister Ron Liepert, from Calgary, did not run again.

This will be the second time Redford has picked a cabinet. The first group was selected seven months ago, after Redford won the party leadership.

Brownsey said Redford knows the drill.

“She’s got to balance geography, competence, ethnicity, urban-rural, social conservative and fiscal conservative,” he said.

“It’s just not simply picking the best or the most competent.”

She has 60 members to choose from in the 87-seat legislature, a third of whom are sitting in the house for the first time.

Brownsey said he expects veterans like Doug Horner to remain as deputy premier and president of Treasury Board, and Dave Hancock to stay in place as house leader and minister of Human Services.

At dissolution, Calgary was represented by Redford, Liepert, Service Alberta Minister Manmeet Bhullar, and Solicitor General Jonathan Denis.

Brownsey said there is high-level Calgary talent in the wings, including former city councillor Ric McIver, oilpatch executive Donna Kennedy-Glans, and Ken Hughes, the former head of Alberta Health Services.

All five Edmonton and area cabinet ministers were returned by voters. Along with Horner and Hancock, Thomas Lukaszuk (Education) is back, as is Fred Horne (Health) and Heather Klimchuk (Culture).

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