Premier David Alward is expected to shuffle his cabinet before the legislative assembly returns in November.

Alward has made a few small alterations around his cabinet table to address specific needs around restructuring or retirements.

But the premier’s cabinet closely resembles the front bench that Alward introduced when he formed government in 2010.

Premiers often use the midway point in their mandate to move around their ministers and promote any star backbenchers.


Government Services Minister Craig Leonard has been the acting energy minister since May. (CBC)

With the legislature returning in November, it is expected Alward may shuffle his cabinet in the next few weeks to give ministers who are taking on new portfolios time to prepare.

Alward must address the opening in his cabinet created when Margaret-Ann Blaney quit politics to take a job as the president and chief executive officer of Efficiency New Brunswick.

Government Services Minister Craig Leonard has taken on the energy portfolio in the interim. Leonard was Alward's first energy minister, but he was moved out of that role so he could take on the new Government Services portfolio earlier in 2012.

Newly-elected Rothesay MLA Hugh John (Ted) Flemming III gives the Progressive Conservative caucus a second lawyer, meaning Alward could make him attorney general.

That could allow the premier to move Justice Minister Marie-Claude Blais, who is considered a solid performer in the legislature, to another position.


Justice Minister Marie-Claude Blais has been considered a strong performer in the legislature. (CBC)

There has also been speculation about Post-Secondary Education, Training and Labour Minister Martine Coulombe’s future in cabinet.

The minister has appeared unsteady at times, including when she seemed to pre-emptively endorse the federal government's tougher approach to Employment Insurance.

The safest minister is likely Finance Minister Blaine Higgs, who has become the face of the Alward government’s fight against the deficit.