Alberta Premier Redford names new cabinet

Alberta Premier Alison Redford named leadership rivals Ted Morton and Doug Griffiths to her new cabinet which was announced Wednesday in Edmonton.
Alberta Premier Alison Redford is applauded by members of her new cabinet at a news conference Wednesday. (CBC)

Alberta Premier Alison Redford has named leadership rivals Ted Morton and Doug Griffiths to her new cabinet, which was announced Wednesday in Edmonton.

Morton was named energy minister and Griffiths will helm Municipal Affairs — his first cabinet post.

Doug Horner, another leadership candidate, was named president of the Treasury Board in addition to his previously announced appointment as deputy premier.

Ron Liepert was appointed finance minister, which came as a surprise to some observers.

Liepert stated last week that he would fight the new premier on her promise to hold a public inquiry into allegations of MLA involvement in health care queue jumping.

"In building this cabinet, I wasn't looking for people who think exactly the same way that I do," Redford said in a news conference that followed the swearing-in ceremony. "I think a diversity of ideas and lively discussion is a good thing and I think it's what Albertans expect.

"So I looked for people who are bright and energetic, who are open to new ideas and new ways of doing things. Most of all, I looked for people who are capable of leading the change that Albertans want."

Edmonton-Rutherford MLA Fred Horne, the former parliamentary assistant for health, was promoted to Health minister. Former Employment and Immigration Minister Thomas Lukaszuk was moved to Education.

Calgary-Egmont MLA Jonathan Denis was moved from Housing and Urban Affairs to become Alberta Solicitor General and Minister of Public Security.

Cabinet newcomers include Environment and Water Minister Diana McQueen, Service Alberta Minister Manmeet Bhullar, Advanced Education Minister Greg Weadick and Agriculture Minister Evan Berger.

Some members of former premier Ed Stelmach's cabinet did not make the cut, including Iris Evans, Gene Zwozdesky, Yvonne Fritz, Lindsay Blackett, Lloyd Snelgrove and Rob Renner.

Opposition critical of Horne's appointment

Horne was a health-care consultant before he was elected to the legislative assembly for the first time in 2008. He served as a parliamentary assistant under former health minister Gene Zwozdesky after Dr. Raj Sherman was kicked out of the Tory caucus late last year.

Horne put together an international conference called the "Third Way" while Ralph Klein was still premier.

Opposition members say Horne was the author of documents leaked last year that outline a plan to delist some services and expand private health care. 

Sherman, who is now the leader of the Alberta Liberals, worked with Horne when he was still a Tory MLA.

"Having come from within government, Fred was the one who presented that privatization document at caucus last summer," Sherman said. "We've got the chief architect of the PC privatization plan coming back to finish the job in health care."

Alberta NDP Leader Brian Mason expressed the same concern.

"He is the author of the plan for more private health-care delivery that this government has been following by stealth," he said.

Horne rejected those criticisms.

"I think the premier has made it very clear that we're here in support of a publicly funded health-care system," Horne said. "I can tell you from my work in health policy over the years there are tremendous improvements that are there to be made."

Redford defended Horner's appointment.

"He's going to be a fabulous health minister and he's going to deliver good health care for Albertans," she said.

Redford trimmed her front benches to 20 ministers from 23.

The new Ministry of Human Services, headed by cabinet veteran Dave Hancock, will include the old ministries of Children and Youth Services, Homelessness and the employment part of Employment and Immigration.

Immigration issues will now be handled by the Ministry of International, Intergovernmental and Aboriginal Relations

New Alberta cabinet:

  • Alison Redford, premier, president of executive council, chair of agenda and priorities.
  • Doug Horner, deputy premier, president of Treasury Board
  • Dave Hancock, Human Services, government house leader
  • Ted Morton, Energy
  • Verlyn Olson, Justice and attorney general, deputy government house leader
  • Fred Horne, Health
  • Ron Liepert, Finance
  • Thomas Lukaszuk, Education
  • Diana McQueen, Environment and Water
  • Jonathan Denis, solicitor general and Public Security
  • Cal Dallas, International, Intergovernmental and Aboriginal Relations
  • Evan Berger, Agriculture and Rural Development
  • Frank Oberle, Sustainable Resource Development
  • George Vanderburg, Seniors
  • Ray Danyluk, Transportation
  • Jeff Johnson, Infrastructure
  • Doug Griffiths, Municipal Affairs
  • Greg Weadick, Advanced Education and Technology
  • Jack Hayden, Tourism, Parks and Recreation
  • Heather Klimchuk, Culture and Community Services
  • Manmeet Bhullar, Service Alberta

With files from The Canadian Press