PEI

P.E.I. cabinet restructured under MacLauchlan

P.E.I. Premier Wade MacLauchlan announced his new cabinet Wednesday, with several new faces and a restructuring of portfolios.
Wade MacLauchlan's cabinet sworn in after May 4 election victory 27:42

P.E.I. Premier Wade MacLauchlan announced his new cabinet Wednesday, with several new faces and a restructuring of portfolios.

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      The nine-member cabinet includes just three members from the last Robert Ghiz cabinet — Doug Currie, Alan McIsaac and Allen Roach — and includes two rookie MLAs — Heath MacDonald and Tina Mundy.

      It also features the return of Richard Brown to cabinet. Brown has been a Liberal MLA since 2003, and was a minister from 2007 to October 2011.

      "Politics is funny and you adjust yourself as it goes along. Like a good sailor you adjust yourself to the wind and you keep moving forward," said Brown.

      • Wade MacLauchlan, premier, president of the executive council, minister of justice and public safety, attorney general, minister of intergovernmental affairs, minister of aboriginal affairs, and minister of Acadian and Francophone affairs.
      • Richard Brown, minister of workforce and advanced learning.
      • Doug Currie, minister of health and wellness, and minister of family and human services.
      • Alan McIsaac, minister of agriculture and fisheries.
      • Allen Roach, minister of finance.
      • Paula Biggar, minister of transportation, infrastructure and energy.
      • Robert Mitchell, minister of communities, land and environment.
      • Heath MacDonald, minister of economic development and tourism.
      • Tina Mundy, minister of education, early learning, and culture, and minister responsible for the status of women.

      Civil service structure changes

      The cabinet has two fewer people than the one led by past premier Robert Ghiz.

      "To have nine cabinet ministers shows that we'll do more with less," said MacLauchlan.

      Several departments have been reorganized. Fisheries and agriculture are now one ministry instead of two. Rural affairs, which was under the department of fisheries, disappears. A communities portfolio appears in its place in a department with land and environment.

      P.E.I. Premier Wade MacLauchlan laughs after telling people not to book a golf game for June 3, due to a possible convening of the legislature. (CBC)
      Another big change is community services moving to the responsibility of the health minister.

      "Islanders perceive that there is a continuum of care and a continuum of issues in those two ministries, to pick two issues that demonstrate it well: seniors' care or mental health and addictions," said MacLauchlan at a news conference following the swearing in ceremony.

      MacLauchlan said the shuffling of portfolio responsibilities will also mean some changes in the structure of the civil service, and an announcement regarding that will come later this week. He said the changes would not necessarily mean job losses.

      Cabinet faces significant challenges: Lantz

      At that news conference, MacLauchlan echoed many of the themes he invoked on the day he was named leader of the P.E.I. Liberal Party in February.

      "Today's swearing in of a new executive council marks the beginning of a new day for Prince Edward Island," he said.

      "The gardens of Government House are full of the promise of spring. What better place to hold this swearing in ceremony."

      MacLauchlan was asked when the legislature would next sit.

      "If you looked for something to do on the afternoon two weeks from today, you'd probably find that it's a good day not to go golfing," he said.

      That would put the opening of the legislature on June 3.

      Meanwhile, Progressive Conservative Party Leader Rob Lantz says the new cabinet faces significant challenges.

      He says major restructuring of government services will come with additional unexpected costs and will add uncertainty in the public service.

      Islanders will have to wait for the next budget to get a true picture of the province's finances, says Lantz.

      Read the live blog here.

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