Premier Rachel Notley and Premier-designate Jason Kenney met to discuss transition between governments on April 18, 2019 at Government House in Edmonton.
Shaughn Butts / Postmedia
Newly minted Premier Jason Kenney’s 23-member provincial cabinet, appointed Tuesday, saw Calgary garnering strong representation in as many as 13 ministries including the powerhouse portfolios of Justice, Health, Energy and Economic Development.Doug Schweitzer, a lawyer elected in Calgary-Elbow, was sworn in as solicitor general and minister of justice, while Tanya Fir, representing Calgary-Peigan and holding extensive experience in oil and gas, will tackle Economic Development, Trade and Tourism.Calgary-Acadia’s Tyler Shandro, a lawyer who has worked in land and development, is minister of health while Calgary North West’s Sonya Savage, a former director with the Canadian Energy Pipeline Association, will be minister of energy.Longtime Calgary politician Ric McIver of Calgary-Hays will be minister of transportation. He held the infrastructure portfolio with the Progressive Conservatives before the NDP took power in May 2015.“This cabinet is very Calgary-centric, that’s for sure,” said Duane Bratt, professor of political science and chair in the Department of Economics, Justice, and Policy Studies at Mount Royal University.But he added it’s no surprise since the UCP won 23 out of Calgary’s 26 seats.While the monetary portfolios of energy and economics went to Calgary, Finance and Treasury Board will go to Travis Toews of Grande Prairie-Wapiti.“It’s a good effort overall. There’s diversity, and more women than I thought there would be,” said Bratt, counting seven out of 15 women elected to the UCP appointed to cabinet.“But most are in softer portfolios,” Bratt added, including Rajan Sawhney from Calgary North-East as minister of community and social services, Josephine Pon from Calgary-Beddington as minister of seniors and housing, and Rebecca Schulz of Calgary-Shaw as minister of children’s services.“But there is Sonya Savage in energy,” Bratt said.Bratt called Kenney’s ministers a much “stronger group” compared to former NDP Premier Rachel Notley’s first cabinet in May 2015, where only 12 MLAs were appointed, many carrying more than one portfolio.Other Calgary appointments include Demetrios Nicolaides from Calgary-Bow as Minister of Advanced Education, Jason Copping from Calgary-Varsity as Minister of Labour and Immigration and Prasad Panda from Calgary-Edgemont as Minister of Infrastructure.Kenney, who served as a Member of Parliament for Conservative governments for nearly a decade, will also take on the Ministry of Intergovernmental Affairs.But while representation in southern and central Alberta is strong, only four cabinet ministers are from northern Alberta, including Toews, and Municipal Affairs Minister Kaycee Madu from Edmonton-Southwest.In a press conference following the swearing-in ceremonies, Kenney admitted one of the most challenging tasks of any government leader is choosing a diverse cabinet.“We have a very balanced cabinet. We have balance between people experienced in the legislature, a lot of new people, and we have balance in terms of geography and backgrounds, professional and otherwise.Kenney added that while most ministers are from the Calgary area, “Minister Toews as minister of finance and president of treasury board will be a very strong voice for northern Alberta. As will I.”Kenney recalled the first day he launched his unity campaign in July 2016: “The first place I went was Grande Prairie to emphasize the importance of northern Alberta to me and to our party.”Kenney also created three portfolios, one of which also goes to a Calgarian — Calgary-Foothills MLA Jason Luan as minister of mental health and addictions. The others are Dale Nally of Morinville-St. Albert as associate minister of natural gas and Grant Hunter of Cardston-Taber Warner as minister of red tape reduction — the result of Kenney’s promise to reduce government email@example.com