'Streamlined' cabinet to reflect new priorities

Kathy Dunderdale says the new cabinet will reflect her priorities for governing Newfoundland and Labrador for the next four years.
Premier Kathy Dunderdale is not revealing specific plans for the new cabinet. (CBC)

Premier Kathy Dunderdale says the cabinet she will introduce on Friday will reflect her priorities for governing Newfoundland and Labrador for the next four years.

"I've streamlined. I've tried to find efficiencies and better fits for secretariats and programs," Dunderdale told reporters Thursday, after MHAs were sworn in at the legislature.

"I have made some adjustments in what cabinet looks like."

Dunderdale, however, would not tip her hand on what to expect, or even to allow that her streamlining process means a smaller cabinet.

Before the election, the cabinet included 18 ministers in addition to the premier.

NDP Leader Lorraine Michael said the number could easily be shrunk.

"I really do not believe we need a department of Business," Michael said.

"I really don't think we need two ministers for Labrador, one called the Minister of Labrador Affairs and the other Aboriginal Affairs," she said. "I think it's totally unnecessary."

Opposition Leader Yvonne Jones, who has retained the title while the Liberal executive prepares the process to pick a new party leader, said Dunderdale does not have many choices, even though the Tories won 37 of the house of assembly's 48 seats in the Oct. 11 election. 

"I think there's a lot of weak members," she said.

"I think there's a lot of members that, even though they're going into their second term, I look at them as rookie members ... because they haven't demonstrated a lot of experience in the political arena."

The new cabinet will inevitably include new faces. Aboriginal Affairs Minister Patty Pottle and Natural Resources Minister Shawn Skinner both lost their seats in the election.

As well, three outgoing ministers — Dave Denine, John Hickey and Harry Harding — have retired from politics.

Finally, on Thursday, Ross Wiseman — formerly the minister of environment and conservation — was acclaimed as Speaker.