Fresh faces to Sask. Premier Brad Wall's cabinet might not be here to stay, say experts

Two political scientists weigh in on Wednesday's cabinet shuffle.

Political scientists predict cabinet will be shuffled again after the Sask. Party chooses a new leader

Premier Brad Wall announced the appointment of five new cabinet ministers at Government House in Regina this morning. (Government of Saskatchewan)

Some of the newest members to Saskatchewan Premier's Brad Wall's inner circle shouldn't get too cozy, according to two political scientists.

Charles Smith and Joe Garcea teach at the University of Saskatchewan and both predict another cabinet shuffle will happen once the governing Sask. Party chooses a new leader—and by default, new premier—in January 2018.

"That leader presumably will want to put a fresh face on the government so we'll see another shift probably at the end of January or early October," said Smith, pointing out that Donna Harpauer, the newly appointed finance minister, may not even have time to prepare or table a budget.

"I don't think that these ministers are going to have a lot of time to put any kind of permanent stamp on their ministries."

Garcea explained the shuffle, which saw five new cabinet ministers appointed—one of whom has served previously—as "clearly a case of dire need."

Five cabinet ministers resigned this month, four of whom announced their bids to lead the party and replace Wall, who is retiring.

Garcea said in this situation the only other choice for Wall was to operate with a smaller cabinet and assign more portfolios to the remaining ministers.

"I think that once the dust settles from the leadership selection process that some of the current ministers will end up back in cabinet," he said.

Of the four new faces added to cabinet, Garcea predicted some will undoubtedly be temporary.

For Smith, Nancy Heppner, the new energy and resources minister, along with Steven Bonk and Gene Makowsky who are serving as minister of the economy and minister of parks, culture and sport, respectively, are "filling a place holder until the next leader comes in."

"For these new members of cabinet, if any of them have aspirations of staying in the cabinet this is their opportunity to show their stuff," said Garcea.

He also said that with some of the Sask. Party's top talent in the leadership race, some of the new cabinet ministers appointed could be considered belonging to the party's B-team.

Despite Wall's upcoming retirement and leadership race, Smith said the new ministers will still have work to do. 

He said one challenge for the rookie ministers will be uncertainity of not knowing what issues may arise they need to handle.