Jason Kenney appoints new cabinet, says he will not immediately enact 'turn off the taps' legislation

Alberta Premier Jason Kenney swore in 22 new cabinet members Tuesday morning at Government House in Edmonton.

Share Adjust Comment Print

Alberta’s new Premier Jason Kenney had one message after he was sworn in at Government House in Edmonton Tuesday: The work starts now.

Flanked by 19 new cabinet ministers and three associate ministers, Kenney said the main focus for his team over the next four years will be economic growth, job creation, getting pipelines built and standing up for Alberta.

Tuesday’s event was a low-key affair compared with the public celebrations of the NDP government in 2015, when thousands of Albertans descended on the sunny legislature grounds for politics and ice cream.

Instead, Tuesday saw only cabinet ministers, their friends and families, party insiders and a handful of unsuccessful UCP candidates slog through a late-spring snowstorm into Government House.

“I promised to Albertans we wouldn’t waste a day, or an hour, getting to work to renew the Alberta advantage. That begins this afternoon,” Kenney said.

Traveling east

Tuesday held a packed agenda for the new premier.

It began with the swearing-in, followed by a reception with invited guests, a cabinet meeting, then a trip to a Senate transportation committee hearing in downtown Edmonton where he and new Energy Minister Sonya Savage gave a piece of their mind on federal Bill C-48 (the tanker ban).

One of Kenney’s next acts as premier will be to leave Alberta.

Later this week he will travel to Ottawa to speak with senators to oppose federal Bill C-69, which will overhaul Canada’s energy regulatory process and change the rules for project approvals.

Then he will jet to Toronto “to send a message to investors on Bay Street and across the country that Alberta is open for business again.”

“If they want the most friendly environment in which to invest, it will be right here in Alberta,” Kenney said.

Calgary-heavy cabinet

Kenney’s cabinet has a distinctly Calgary flavour, with a dozen ministers and one associate minister holding seats in the city. The 23-member executive council is also markedly male, featuring only seven women.

Edmonton-Beverly-Clareview NDP MLA Deron Bilous slammed Kenney for a lack of representation in his cabinet, in genders and geography.

“There are nearly as many Jasons as there are women,” he said Tuesday afternoon.

“There is no minister representing Medicine Hat, Lethbridge or Fort McMurray, and only one from Northern Alberta and one from Southern Alberta.”

But Kenney praised the diversity of his cabinet, saying among them they speak 13 languages, have a variety of personal and professional backgrounds and an average age hovering around 40.

Bilous, the former trade minister, hasn’t yet adjusted from life in government to opposition, but said he’s looking forward to holding the UCP’s feet to the fire.

“I can tell you that the moment they waver or don’t act in the best interests of Albertans, we will be calling them on it,” he said.

“Not only are we going to oppose, we will proposing … good ideas, and trying to amend bills to make them better.”

Meet Alberta’s new executive council

Premier: Jason Kenney

Jason Kenney is Alberta’s 18th premier and will also assume the role of minister of intergovernmental affairs. He is MLA for Calgary-Lougheed.

Minister of Justice and Solicitor General: Doug Schweitzer

Schweizter’s unsuccessful run against Kenney for leadership of the UCP ultimately didn’t hurt his political aspirations. Before winning Calgary-Elbow, Schweitzer was a Calgary-based restructuring lawyer. He is married with two young daughters.

Minister of Health: Tyler Shandro

Shandro is a lawyer with a long history of public service, as a former member of the National Parole Board, the Municipal Government Board, the University of Calgary Senate, and the Calgary Police Commission. He was elected in Calgary-Acadia.

Minister of Transportation: Ric McIver

McIver was one of the handful of Progressive Conservatives to hold his seat when they were decimated by the NDP in 2015. He was first elected to Calgary-Hays in 2012 after 10 years as a Calgary city councillor and served in several cabinet positions under former PC premiers.

Minister of Education: Adriana LaGrange

Elected in Red Deer North, LaGrange has lived in central Alberta since the mid-1980s. She served for several years as a school board chairwoman and as president of the Alberta Catholic School Trustees Association. She has been married for 33 years and has seven children.

Minister of Economic Development, Trade and Tourism: Tanya Fir

Fir’s name was floated by UCP strategists as a possible cabinet choice. She won Calgary-Peigan after close to 20 years working as a human resources adviser in the oil and gas industry.

Minister of Finance: Travis Toews

Elected in Grande Prairie-Wapiti, Toews gives Kenney’s cabinet a much-needed northern Alberta injection. Toews owns and manages a cattle ranch and an oilfield environment company with his wife Kim, and is former president of the Canadian Cattlemen’s Association with a host of accounting experience.

Minister of Environment and Parks: Jason Nixon

Jason Nixon has represented the central Alberta riding of Rimbey-Rocky Mountain House-Sundre since he was first elected as a Wildrose MLA in 2015. Nixon was appointed house leader after Kenney won the UCP leadership. He was re-elected by a massive majority garnering more than 80 per cent of votes in his riding.

Minister of Agriculture and Forestry: Devin Dreeshen

Member for Innisfail-Sylvan Lake, Dreeshen was elected in a 2018 byelection to replace disgraced former MLA Don MacIntyre, who was jailed for sexual touching of a minor. Dreeshen farms canola and is the son of Red Deer-Mountain View MP Earl Dreeshen. He was a policy adviser to federal Agriculture Minister Gerry Ritz, then campaigned for Donald Trump during the 2016 presidential election.

Minister of Energy: Sonya Savage

Member for Calgary-North West, Savage spent 12 years working in the pipeline sector. Her most recent position was senior director of policy and regulatory affairs at the Canadian Energy Pipeline Association where she handled files on regulatory reform, Indigenous reconciliation, legal, environment and climate change.

Minister of Community and Social Services: Rajan Sawhney

Sawhney worked in the oil and gas industry before her election to Calgary-North East, and owns a small business. She is married with four children.

Minister of Seniors and Housing: Josephine Pon

Pon’s experience includes a number of roles with the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation, including mortgage insurance, international trade and assisted housing. She then moved to the finance industry before her election in Calgary-Beddington.

Minister of Children’s Services: Rebecca Schulz

Elected in Calgary-Shaw, Schulz was a public servant in Brad Wall’s Saskatchewan Party government before relocating to Alberta with her husband and two children. She has experience in the education sector, having worked in the Saskatchewan education department and at the University of Calgary.

Minister of Indigenous Relations: Richard Wilson

Elected in Maskwacîs-Wetaskiwin, Wilson works a family farm that has been in operation for more than 100 years. He was a councillor with Wetaskiwin County for 15 years, and also spent time as chair of Crossroads Regional Health Authority, a member of the Western Canadian Agriculture Debt Review Board and as a school board trustee.

Minister of Advanced Education: Demetrios Nicolaides

Elected in Calgary-Bow. Nicolaides is an accredited mediator, was active in peacebuilding and reconciliation activities in Cyprus and has consulted in arbitration and regulatory hearings in Alberta, B.C. and Manitoba. Prior to his election, he worked at a communication consulting firm.

Minister of Culture and Multiculturalism, Status of Women: Leela Aheer

Aheer was first elected to the legislature in 2015 under the Wildrose banner in Chestermere-Rocky View, and ran in (and won) Chestermere-Strathmore thanks to a boundary redraw. Initially one of only two women on the UCP benches, Kenney appointed Aheer deputy leader of the party in October 2017. She served as opposition critic for Status of Women and Children’s Services.

Minister of Labour and Immigration: Jason Copping

Copping has more than 20 years of experience in labour relations, human resources and corporate affairs. He worked in the transportation industry before being elected in Calgary-Varsity.

Minister of Municipal Affairs: Kaycee Madu

The lone UCP MLA in Edmonton, Madu won Edmonton-South West in one of the closest races in the provincial election. A Nigerian immigrant, the 45-year-old graduated with a bachelor of laws from the University of Lagos. He migrated to Canada in 2005 with his wife. Since winning the election, Kenney has made a point of saying he will reach out to Edmontonians in the only pocket of Alberta that remained solidly orange.

Minister of Infrastructure: Prasad Panda

Calgary-Edgemont MLA Prasad Panda had to grapple against a ream of other Calgary politicians to secure his cabinet position. Before he was elected in a 2015 byelection under the Wildrose banner, replacing former premier Jim Prentice, he was an oil and gas engineer and the UCP energy critic. He was also trade critic before Dreeshen, and accompanied the Innisfail-Sylvan Lake MLA and Kenney on a trade mission to India last year. Panda immigrated to Canada from India.

Minister of Service Alberta: Nate Glubish

Prior to his election in Strathcona-Sherwood Park, Glubish worked for a Vancouver-based venture capital fund overseeing investments in Alberta-based technology companies. He has been married for 10 years.

Associate Minister of Red Tape Reduction: Grant Hunter

Hunter was first elected in Cardston-Taber-Warner in 2015 under the Wildrose banner. Thanks to the boundary redraw, he ran in (and won) Taber-Warner this election. He is married with five children and has owned and operated a construction company for more than 20 years.

Associate Minister of Natural Gas: Dale Nally

Nally was elected in Morinville-St. Albert. He brings with him decades of private sector experience managing and leading business units, and was a co-chair for Diversity Edmonton.

Associate Minister of Mental Health And Addictions: Jason Luan

Elected in Calgary-Foothills. Luan has served in a variety of provincial and municipal governments roles, including child protection worker, social planner, and counsellor, and was MLA for Calgary-Hawkwood from 2012 to 2015. He is married with two daughters.


10/3 Podcast

egraney@postmedia.com

twitter.com/EmmaLGraney

Comments