Brian Pallister sworn in as Manitoba premier

Premier Brian Pallister and his Progressive Conservative team have officially been sworn in as the new government in Manitoba.

Pallister announces list of 12 cabinet ministers

Premier Brian Pallister and his Progressive Conservative team have officially been sworn in as the new government in Manitoba. 2:56

Premier Brian Pallister and his Progressive Conservative team have officially been sworn in as the new government in Manitoba.

The ceremony began at 10 a.m. CT and was officiated by Manitoba Lt.-Gov. Janice Filmon at the Canadian Museum for Human Rights.

"I do solemnly swear that I will duly, faithfully and to the best of my knowledge and ability, perform and fulfil duties and requirements of the office of executive councillor to the province of Manitoba to which I have been appointed, and so long as I continue to hold that office without fear or favour, so help me god," Pallister said as he read the oath out in front of a large group at the museum.

Brian Pallister address the crowd at the CMHR at the swearing-in ceremony Tuesday. (Bert Savard/CBC)

Ministers appointed

Pallister appointed 12 ministers to his cabinet — down seven from the previous government.

Tuxedo representative Heather Stefanson was the first MLA to be named to cabinet. She was named attorney general and assigned the justice portfolio.

Cameron Friesen, the second member appointed to cabinet, was named minister of finance and minister of civil services.

The rest of the cabinet appointments went to:

  • Kelvin Goertzen, minister of health, seniors and active living and government house leader
  • Ian Wishart, minister of education and training
  • Scott Fielding (Kirkfield Park), minister of families
  • Blaine Pedersen (Midland), minister of infrastructure
  • Eileen Clarke (Agassiz), minister of Indigenous and municipal relations
  • Cathy Cox (River East), minister of sustainable development
  • Cliff Cullen (Spruce Woods), minister of growth, enterprise and trade
  • Ralph Eichler (Lakeside), minister of agriculture
  • Rochelle Squires (Riel), minister of sport, culture and heritage, minister of Francophone affairs and status of women
  • Ron Schuler (St. Paul), minister of Crown services
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      'Carving a new direction'

      After all the ministers were sworn in, Pallister waxed poetic for a moment, relating his vision for Manitoba back to the days of fur-trading.

      "Imagine it's 200 years ago, to the minute, a beautiful spring morning, a man in a canoe, precious cargo for trade, down the Assiniboine to The Forks, and then into the Red. The current has been his friend for the last couple of days, but now it takes him farther and farther away from his intended destination. He's seeking a better shore, a place to trade, a place to prosper, a place to protect his family," Pallister said.

      After all of the ministers were sworn in, Pallister waxed poetic for a moment, relating his vision for Manitoba back to the days of fur-trading. 1:28

      "He immediately understand the challenges he faces. He knows the dangers of overreacting. He accepts the need to steer a new course gradually, deftly, to protect his cargo as he carves a new direction. This is our challenge ... carving a new direction to a better shore."

      The new premier teared up as he said his final words at the podium, paying tribute to his rural roots by borrowing words from the 4-H pledge.

      "I pledge my head to clear thinking, my heart to greater loyalty, my hands to larger service and my health to better living for my province, my country and our earth."

      Smaller cabinet for 'better results'

      Pallister said the strategy behind downsizing his cabinet — merging some departments in the process — is to produce what he called "better results."

      "If we're going to achieve better results, and Manitobans deserve better results, we need to have a more focused organization," he said.

      He added, "Our cabinet size is not disproportionately small compared to many other provinces in the country of Canada. It was disproportionately large before."

      Manitoba political analyst Christopher Adams said it appears that Pallister went with political veterans who have previously served in his caucus.

      Some of the top jobs have gone to MLAs without relevant backgrounds in their ministries, including Justice Minister Heather Stefanson, who is not a lawyer, and Finance Minister Cameron Friesen, who is a former teacher.

      Adams said it's unusual that a justice minister is not a lawyer, but it has been done before.

      "I think the premier wants to see people in key positions who will be able to learn from their chief deputy ministers, from their advisers, and who will make sound decisions based on sound evidence presented to them," he said.

      "So I think it's more of a question of in these tough positions … you have people of sound character rather than people who might not necessarily have the specialized detailed knowledge."

      As for female representation, Adams said it's "respectable" that Pallister's 12-person cabinet includes four women.

      "I think a third is a respectable number. I think he's got to work with the candidates who were elected, many of whom are men, and secondly, he's got to balance the different components in his caucus," he said.

      Adams said he believes Pallister wants to see how his cabinet ministers perform, while also observing how his rookie MLAs fare.

      "Many of the newly elected people, who have come in from Winnipeg and many of whom are women — [he] wants to see how they perform in caucus before he promotes them higher up into the cabinet," he said.

      Adams said it appears that Pallister is balancing the interests of rural of urban Manitobans, and he believes more urban MLAs will join cabinet over the next couple of years.

      With files from the CBC's Bryce Hoye