Cabinet shuffles usually don’t happen so early in an new administration
In just a little over a year of Manitobans going to the polls early, Manitoba’s Premier Pallister has shuffled his Cabinet in the middle of the pandemic. At the start of COVID-19, Manitoba had the lowest reported cases of COVID-19 in the country for months. Many experts were predicting Manitoba would have a huge serge in cases once testing result became more readily available and, they were correct.
Manitoba saw a huge serge in cases and became the epicenter for the virus per capita which resulted in a provincial wide Code Red, a full lockdown. The province’s health Minister Cameron Friesen was heavily scrutinized for his handling of the pandemic and has been moved out of the position in the shuffle.
The former Health Minister will now become Minister of Justice and Attorney General. The portfolio of Health will now be split creating two Ministerial positions, a Minister for Mental Health and one for Health and Seniors.
An expansion of Ministerial positions is a change in stance from when Premier Pallister was first elected. “There are six female ministers, the largest number since this government was elected in 2016, the premier noted. The new cabinet will comprise 18 members, fewer than under the previous government.” Said the Premier
“As we begin a new year and enter a new phase of addressing the significant challenges posed by COVID-19, it is time to present a renewed ‘Team Manitoba’ to lead our efforts to protect Manitobans and create opportunities,” said Pallister. “Our strong team has a clear focus on helping working families, seniors and vulnerable Manitobans, protecting our health and education systems, and setting the groundwork for a sustained economic recovery by creating job opportunities.”
Ministers whose portfolio responsibilities have not changed are:
• Ron Schuler – minister of infrastructure;
• Blaine Pedersen – minister of agriculture and resource development;
• Eileen Clarke – minister of Indigenous and northern relations;
• Cathy Cox – minister of sport, culture and heritage;
• Scott Fielding – minister of finance;
• Jeff Wharton – minister of Crown services;
• Reg Helwer – minister of central services; and
• Sarah Guillemard – minister of conservation and climate.