Dwight Ball recruits new blood for cabinet to replace Kirby, Joyce
Premier creates new role for status of women, promotes 3 members to cabinet
Newfoundland and Labrador's reigning Liberal government has added three new ministers to its ranks, promoting Carol Anne Haley, Bernard Davis and Graham Letto into cabinet.
After several tumultuous months and a harassment scandal playing out in the House of Assembly, Premier Dwight Ball said he decided Thursday morning it was time to make a change.
"Today, I'm really pleased to announce our new cabinet," he said after a swearing-in ceremony at Government House in St. John's.
"We are adding some new talent, putting some new perspectives to the portfolios of our government.
Ball made the call late in the day, with some ministers not finding out about their new roles until after 2:30 p.m.
- Siobhan Coady kept her role as minister of Natural Resources, but relinquished her role as minister responsible for the status of women.
- Carol Anne Haley took over the Status of Women portfolio, a promotion from the backbench into cabinet.
- Al Hawkins is the new minister of Education and Early Childhood Development, taking over the post vacated by Dale Kirby when he was booted from caucus and cabinet.
- Bernard Davis was also promoted to cabinet, taking over Hawkins's old job as minister of Advanced Education, Skills and Labour.
- Graham Letto, MHA for Labrador West, is the new minister of Municipal Affairs and Environment — the job Eddie Joyce held when he, too, was ousted from cabinet and caucus amid allegations of bullying and harassment.
Calling in the replacements
While both Kirby and Joyce were cleared of bullying and harassing other elected officials, they were found to have acted inappropriately.
Both MHAs were ordered to apologize in the legislature this week, but they kept those apologies brief.
Lt.-Gov. Judy Foote told the new cabinet ministers to embrace the challenges ahead of them, and never stop listening to their constituents.
"I encourage all of you to take on your new roles with vigour," Foote said, before telling them not to forget how they got there — by the votes of the people of the province.
Ball praised his peers and thanked Hawkins and Parsons for stretching their job duties to cover the vacancies left by Kirby and Joyce.
Ball said one of the biggest changes was making the Status of Women portfolio a standalone job with its own minister, pushing for the advancement of women.
"We now have a minister dedicated to advancing this work," he said.
Surprised but thrilled, new minister says
The government has done consultations across the province on how to get more women into leadership roles. Those consultations are nearly finished, Ball said, and he wanted a minister in place to handle the recommendations that come out of it.
Haley said she was surprised but thrilled to find herself in a ministerial role at this point in her career. Like Letto and Davis, Haley is serving a first term in office.
When asked when she found out, Haley indicated it wasn't long before the ceremony began at 4:30 p.m.
Davis was elected to represent Virginia Waters-Pleasantville in 2015. Before Thursday, he served as the parliamentary secretary for Service NL.
Before being elected as a Liberal in 2015, Letto ran for the rival Progressive Conservative Party in the 2003 provincial election, and for the Conservative Party of Canada in the 2005 federal election.
Prior to Thursday, he served as the parliamentary secretary for the Department of Natural Resources.
Haley represents the district of Burin-Grand Bank, winning the 2015 election by a landslide.
She was serving as the parliamentary secretary for the Department of Health and Community Services before her promotion to cabinet.