Central Alberta mayors look forward to working with new ministers and a new premier after losing two Central Alberta ministers in the recent cabinet shuffle.
Red Deer Mayor Morris Flewwelling was pleased Cal Dallas MLA for Red Deer-South, earned his first cabinet post as the Minister of International, Intergovernmental and Aboriginal Relations and a seat on the Treasury Board. He was equally pleased Jack Hayden, MLA for Drumheller-Stettler was named the Minister of Tourism, Parks and Recreation.
Flewwelling said the two appointments will bode well for the city and Central Alberta but he was disappointed Red Deer-North MLA Mary Anne Jablonski, the former seniors and community supports minister, and Sylvan Lake-Innisfail MLA Luke Ouellette, the former transportation minister were dropped.
“We have an opportunity to watch very closely what happens in the next little while,” said Flewwelling. “This is in a sense an interim cabinet. We know there is going to be an election very soon. I think it was she who said some of the appointments are actually proving grounds with some of the people who didn’t have ministerial posts before.”
The cabinet was sworn in on Oct. 12 and was comprised of a mixture of familiar and new faces. Premier Alison Redford was sworn in on Oct.7 after winning the Tory leadership race on Oct.2. She is expected to call a provincial election in June.
Flewwelling said the city had a “moderately successful” relationship with former premier Ed Stelmach who visited Red Deer often. He has met Redford on a few occasions and feels she is open and receptive.
When Redford made history as Alberta’s 14th premier and first female premier, Sylvan Lake Mayor Susan Samson was overjoyed. Samson hopes more women will enter politics with Redford at the helm of the province.
Samson, a second-term mayor, wants to see more women in politics because she said women tend to listen more and are more collaborative in their decision making, qualities she sees in Redford.
Samson had mixed feelings about the new cabinet because of the loss of Ouellette. She hopes the relationships Ouellette built over the years with the existing cabinet ministers will bode well for the town.
“Going forward MLA Ouellette has extremely strong connections with the new ministers in the government,” said Samson. “I think he will play a very valuable role for Sylvan Lake-Innisfail particularly because he can open those doors.”
Lacombe Mayor Steve Christie attended Redford’s swearing in ceremony in Edmonton and listened to Redford’s maiden speech at last week’s Premier’s Dinner in Red Deer. He rubbed elbows with the newly appointed Municipal Affairs Minister Doug Griffiths and other ministers.
“I think (Griffiths) is willing to work definitely,” said Christie. “I know he has been around the province a lot and has done some research in the area. I look forward to working with him.”
The City of Lacombe worked extensively with Ouellette in recent years as part of the Highway 2A twinning and upgrade project through Lacombe. He looks forward to working with the newly appointed Transportation Minister Ray Danyluk and the premier.
“For having 12 days experience as premier I think she has shown great strength and great stamina,” he said. “She definitely has family values, something Albertans look for.”
- copyright Red Deer Advocate