Nfld. & Labrador

A lot of familiar faces sworn in as Dwight Ball's Liberal cabinet

Dwight Ball's Liberals hold a minority government in Newfoundland and Labrador, and are preparing to return to the House of Assembly as early as June 10.

Premier says he expects next week to finalize when the House will reopen

Brian Warr, left, is the only new minister in the Liberal cabinet. He is taking over the education portfolio. (Ryan Cooke/CBC)

Premier Dwight Ball announced his picks for cabinet at a swearing-in ceremony in St. John's Thursday afternoon at Government House, with Lt.-Gov. Judy Foote.

Ball told reporters the earliest the House of Assembly will open is June 10, with the House leader in a position "to finalize things" early next week. 

"Once we get in there, it will be extremely busy," he said, adding the election of the speaker and debating the budget will be among the first orders of business. 

"What we've heard clearly from all opposition leaders right now and the Independents, of course, is that there is a willingness to collaborate and co-operate with the budget, so we'll go through that process," said Ball. 

If the budget does not get through before June 30, the premier said, they will approve an interim supply of funds.

"People need not worry — people will be paid, programs will continue to be delivered," he said. 

Getting back to business

"No one wants an election in June of this year," said Ball.

With few changes to cabinet, Ball said the message he got from voters on election day was not a lack of confidence — despite losing the Liberal majority — but a desire for collaboration in the House. 

"We have a very experienced, stable cabinet here," said Ball, stressing it's time "to get the machinery of government back working for the people of the province."

Premier Dwight Ball surrounded by his cabinet speaks to reporters at Government House in St. John's Thursday afternoon after the swearing-in ceremony. (Gary Locke/CBC)

Brian Warr is the only new addition, joining cabinet in his second term as MHA in the role as minister of education and early childhood development.

"No, I don't have an education background. What I do have a background in is certainly management, and working with people," Warr said of his new role, adding he's looking forward to hitting the ground running. 

Tom Osborne is returning as the finance minister, among other roles, including minister responsible for the Newfoundland and Labrador Liquor Corporation.

Christopher Mitchelmore is staying on as tourism, culture and innovation minister, as well as minister responsible for francophone affairs.

From top, left to right, Christopher Mitchelmore, Siobhan Coady, Brian Warr, Andrew Parsons, Dwight Ball and Bernard Davis. (CBC)
From top, left to right, Lisa Dempster, Tom Osborne, Steve Crocker, John Haggie, Gerry Byrne and Sherry Gambin-Walsh. (CBC)

Andrew Parsons is keeping the role as justice and public safety minister, as well as the role of attorney general.

Steve Crocker is back in the transportation and works portfolio; Gerry Byrne is minister of fisheries and land resources; and Siobhan Coady is keeping the natural resources role.

Lisa Dempster's roles include minister of children, seniors and social development, minister responsible for the Newfoundland and Labrador Housing Corporation, minister responsible for the status of persons with disabilities, and minister of municipal affairs and environment.

Carol Anne Haley is the minister responsible for the Status of Women.

Two ministers voted out

Sherry Gambin-Walsh is ServiceNL minister, the minister responsible for public procurement agency and minister responsible for Workplace NL, while John Haggie is back in the health and community services portfolio.

Ball didn't have many members to choose from to form his cabinet, as he captured just a minority government during the provincial election on May 16. 

Two former ministers, Al Hawkins (education) and Graham Letto (municipal affairs), were unseated during the election

Letto was defeated by NDP newcomer Jordan Brown by just five votes.

The balance of power rests with a judicial recount. Ball said if Letto "is fortunate enough to get through," he will return to his portfolio, and if not Ball will name a new minister for the department. 

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