New Brunswick

Brian Gallant's 13-member cabinet will be smallest in 50 years

Brian Gallant's Liberal cabinet will have 13 members, making it the smallest cabinet New Brunswick has had in nearly 50 years.

Premier-designate says he wants his Liberal government to 'lead by example and reduce costs'

Brian Gallant's Liberal cabinet will have 13 members, making it the smallest cabinet New Brunswick has had in nearly 50 years.

Premier-designate Brian Gallant's Liberal cabinet, which will include 13 members, will be the smallest cabinet since former premier Louis J. Robichaud's in 1965. (CBC)
"We need a government focused on job creation, balancing our finances and making life more affordable for families," the premier-designate said in a statement on Monday.

"By naming fewer ministers we will lead by example and reduce costs at the top. We will also ensure better and more consistent policies by eliminating silos across government," Gallant said.

The new cabinet will be sworn in on Tuesday at 2 p.m. during a ceremony at the Legislative Assembly.

It will be the smallest cabinet since that of former premier Louis J. Robichaud in 1965.

Outgoing premier David Alward's Progressive Conservative cabinet had 18 members, including himself.

Former premier Bernard Lord's cabinet between 1999 and 2003 had 15 ministers.

Tom Bateman, a political scientist at St. Thomas University in Fredericton, said the smaller cabinet could foreshadow a more focused policy agenda.

"What Mr. Gallant might be thinking is the government needs to focus and not try to be super-activist in all manner of policy fields," he said.

Tom Bateman, a political scientist at St. Thomas University, said a smaller cabinet could signal a more focused policy agenda by Brian Gallant's Liberal government. (CBC)
The smaller cabinet could also be a signal to New Brunswickers that the Liberal government is ready to trim its own costs as it also cuts the budget deficit, according to Bateman.

New Brunswickers elected 49 MLAs in the Sept. 22 election, down from 55. Gallant has 27 MLAs to pick his cabinet from compared to Alward, who had 41 Tories when the legislature dissolved in August.

Bateman said a smaller cabinet can also make for a more competitive atmosphere inside the Liberal caucus in the next few years.

With 13 cabinet ministers, there will be 14 Liberal MLAs sitting on the backbench, many of whom, will be eager to earn a spot in cabinet later in the mandate. 

Bateman said cabinet ministers will need to know there are a number of Liberals who are eager to take their spots around the executive council table.

Gallant has said restructuring to reduce the number of departments, deputy ministers and other senior executives to further streamline the provincial government will take place within months.

MLAs will be sworn in at a later date.

with files from Daniel McHardie


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