Yesterday, Rachel Notley was sworn in as Alberta’s 17th premier. Notley and her cabinet were sworn in on the Legislature grounds by Chief Justice Catherine Fraser.
Notley has indicated that family is a priority of the government. By making the swearing-in family-friendly, she has taken a first step in emphasizing this priority.
In recognition of the history of the land on which the Legislature stands, Notley invited the involvement of the First Nations and Métis in the swearing-in ceremony with a blessing and an honour song, an indication of her desire to engage all Albertans in her government.
Notley’s cabinet consists of 12 individuals, including herself—eight fewer than the previous administration. Her cabinet includes more women than ever before and has representation from all regions of the province.
Some ministers have responsibility for more than one ministry, with ministries grouped together with common alignments, for example Infrastructure and Transportation. With such alignments, the “professional public service” will play a large role in supporting their ministers. As such, Notley has indicated that there will be senior and junior deputies.
Notley will likely keep tight oversight of cabinet, ensuring that it is professional, measured, efficient and stable. Incumbents Brian Mason, David Eggen and Deron Bilous will play strong roles in ensuring newly elected ministers understand their roles and are placed at the top of the precedence list.
Notley addressed the large crowd that gathered on the grounds of the Legislature yesterday. She began by saying that “this is everyone’s government” and that a new chapter in the story of Alberta has begun. She committed to taking forward the values that built the province for a better Alberta. Notley once again spoke of a strong and stable government that is willing and ready to work with stakeholders. After concluding her speech, Notley led her cabinet into the crowd to meet and join in the festivities.
Her chief of staff, Brian Topp, will bring key experience to the premier’s office, and will provide guidance to the new ministerial chiefs of staff. The NDP has publicly opened up job postings, which is in stark contrast to the hiring process under the PC’s in which positions were traditionally not publicized. The non-partisan Legislative Assembly Office and department staff will be key in supporting new staff as they learn their roles and their portfolios.
Cabinet will meet for the first time on May 27 and 28 in Calgary. After that meeting, cabinet will be expected to take this opportunity to start making connections with Calgarians and Calgary organizations. Notley has stated that cabinet will be held in various locations across the province in order for them to have a broader understanding of the province’s issues. This is a signal that consultation is a high priority for the Notley Government.
Ministers will have to get up to speed on their portfolios in short order. There will be a legislative session in June and ministers will need to present interim supply for their ministries. Cabinet has been tasked for the summer to listen and meet with stakeholders and will be working on a new budget while doing so.
The upcoming months will provide stakeholders with opportunities to engage with government, offer solutions and prove that they can be positive partners of government.
Deputy ministers were not named, but are expected to remain largely the same, echoing the stability phrase that Notley has emphasized since her election. Notley has praised the public service for their hard work, and has stated that she looks forward to working with them. Her overtures indicate that the public service will not be reduced and will play a large part in ensuring the stability and success of the government.
Portfolios are listed in order of precedence.
Rachel Notley, Premier, Minister of International and Intergovernmental Relations
Brian Mason, Minister of Infrastructure, Minister of Transportation
David Eggen, Minister of Education, Minister of Culture and Tourism
Deron Bilous, Minister of Municipal Affairs, Minister of Service Alberta
Joe Ceci, President of Treasury Board, Minister of Finance
Marg McCuaig-Boyd, Minister of Energy
Sarah Hoffman, Minister of Health, Minister of Seniors
Kathleen Ganley, Minister of Justice and Solicitor General, Minister of Aboriginal Affairs
Lori Sigurdson, Minister of Innovation and Advanced Education, Minister of Jobs, Skills, Training and Labour
Oneil Carlier, Minister of Agriculture and Forestry
Shannon Phillips, Minister of Environment and Sustainable Resource Development, Minister of Parks and Recreation, Minister Responsible for the Status of Women
Ifran Sabir, Minister of Human Services
Other Key Positions
Government House Leader – Brian Mason
Deputy Government House Leaders – Deron Bilous; Shannon Phillips
Government Whip – not announced