Alberta Premier Rachel Notley announces six new cabinet posts
Alberta's premier has added five new ministers and one associate minister to her cabinet
Alberta Premier Rachel Notley announced six new members of her cabinet Tuesday morning at a swearing-in ceremony at Government House in Edmonton.
Notley's cabinet now has 19 ministers, up from a dozen when she first formed government last June. The appointments include three Calgary MLAs, which addresses an imbalance that favoured MLAs from Edmonton and northern Alberta.
Sarah Hoffman was sworn in as deputy premier, a new position in Notley's cabinet.
The new ministers sworn in Tuesday are:
- Richard Feehan, minister of Indigenous Relations;
- Christina Gray, minister of Labour and Democratic Renewal;
- Stephanie McLean, minister of Service Alberta and Status of Women;
- Ricardo Miranda, minister of Culture and Tourism;
- Marlin Schmidt, minister of Advanced Education, and;
- Brandy Payne, associate minister of Health
Lori Sigurdson was moved from Advanced Education, and Jobs, Skills, Training & Labour and now takes over as minister of Seniors and Housing. Sigurdson led the jobs portfolio during last fall's disastrous rollout of Bill 6, which angered farmers and ranchers across Alberta.
The cabinet has a few firsts. Miranda, the MLA for Calgary-Cross, is the first openly gay Alberta cabinet minister.
"I know that it's historic in some ways but to me, it's just a reflection of where we've come, how far we've come in this province," he said.
McLean and Payne are both pregnant. Due on Sunday, McLean will be the first Alberta MLA to give birth while in office. Payne is expecting her second child in July.
Notley said the two ministers who formerly held the Service Alberta portfolio, Deron Bilous and Danielle Larivee, will step in while McLean is away. She believes the cabinet will be able to make it work.
"We are going to accommodate that and ensure that we are a place where women can engage fully in the opportunities for leadership that all Albertans want and need to see them adopt," Notley said.
McLean plans to get briefed on her new portfolio this week. She said she expects to return to work as soon as she can, but didn't give a timeline.
"I envision perhaps being in the hospital shortly after giving birth on a conference call," she said with a laugh. "It really depends on the situation and circumstances. Having never had a child before, and never having been a cabinet minister before, these are things that we'll just sort of sort out as we go."
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When Notley first took office last June, the ministers in her cabinet assumed responsibility for multiple portfolios. She was also criticized for having too few MLAs from Calgary and southern Alberta in her inner circle.
Notley said it was never her intention to keep her cabinet that small over the long term. She said she needed to add more cabinet ministers to give them time to meet with more Albertans on a number of issues.
MLAs make a base salary of $134,000. Ministers earn an additional $67,000 a year.
In October, Lesser Slave Lake MLA Danielle Larivee was made minister of Municipal Affairs and Service Alberta, taking over from Deron Bilous, who was moved to the newly created portfolio of Economic Development and Trade.
The new cabinet ministers come from a variety of backgrounds. Miranda is a former flight attendant for Canadian Airlines and Air Canada, which he says should help him with the tourism side of his portfolio. He is fluent in French, in addition to English and his native Spanish.
Schmidt, the MLA for Edmonton-Gold Bar, has served as the government whip since he knocked off PC David Dorward in last May's election. Prior to becoming an MLA, he worked with Alberta Environment as a soil and groundwater contamination specialist.
Payne has a journalism degree and worked in communications. She owned and operated a yoga studio prior to the election.
Gray chaired the select special ethics and accountability committee and was deputy chair of the standing committee on public accounts. She worked in software development and consulting prior to the election.
Feehan is a social worker by profession who taught for the University of Calgary's faculty of social work. He was also deputy chair of committees in the Alberta legislature.
McLean is a lawyer who was the deputy government whip in the legislature.
The new Alberta cabinet looks like this:
- Rachel Notley — Premier, President of Executive Council
- Sarah Hoffman — Health, deputy premier
- Brian Mason — Infrastructure, Transportation, government house leader
- David Eggen — Education
- Deron Bilous — Economic Development and Trade, deputy government house leader
- Joe Ceci — Finance, Treasury Board president
- Kathleen Ganley — Justice
- Shannon Phillips — Environment and Parks, minister Responsible for Climate Change Office
- Oneil Carlier — Agriculture and Forestry
- Danielle Larivee — Municipal Affairs
- Margaret McCuaig-Boyd — Energy
- Irfan Sabir — Human Services
- Lori Sigurdson — Seniors and Housing
- Richard Feehan — Indigenous Relations
- Christina Gray — Labour and Democratic Renewal
- Stephanie McLean — Service Alberta and Status of Women
- Ricardo Miranda — Culture and Tourism
- Marlin Schmidt — Advanced Education
- Brandy Payne — associate minister of Health