During the summer slowdown, Premier Jason Kenney took the opportunity to recalibrate his cabinet. While a cabinet shuffle was not unexpected, the only unforeseen element was the modest extent of the changes; with only two current Ministers appointed to new posts, and the elevation of one new member to the cabinet.

The moves are as follows:

  • Minister Doug Schweitzer, moving from Justice and Solicitor General, was entrusted with a newly created portfolio – Jobs, Economy, and Innovation where he will be the point for Alberta’s economic recovery with oversight of the seven identified areas of growth for the province. He will be in charge of the newly created Invest Alberta corporation and the Petroleum Diversification Program. Minister Schweitzer has taken on large files for the UCP government, notably the issue of rural crime and has proven that he can perform extremely well in complex situations.
  • Replacing Schweitzer at Justice will be Minister Kaycee Madu, formerly of Municipal Affairs. Madu was a practicing lawyer in Nigeria and Alberta; has worked with Legal Aid Alberta and volunteered with the Edmonton Community Legal Centre and the Lawyer Referral Program of the Law Society of Alberta. Along with his practice and before his political career, Minister Madu has worked with the Government of Alberta on legislative and regulatory reviews, strategic public policy, issue management and stakeholder consultation. He is eminently qualified to manage the complexities of the position of Minister of Justice and Solicitor General for the province; he has been a strong and valuable voice for Edmonton at the cabinet table.
  • The newcomer to the Alberta cabinet is Tracy Allard, MLA for Grande Prairie, successful business owner in the region as well as a tireless volunteer committed to her community involved with the Tim Horton Children’s Foundation, the Grande Prairie Boys Choir and Grande Prairie Regional Hospital Foundation. Premier Kenny noted that her strong community background will bring a valuable voice to cabinet as Minister of Municipal Affairs.
  • Economic Development and Trade Minister, Tanya Fir is no longer in cabinet and the department will roll into the new Jobs, Economy and Innovation Ministry

As the Premier stated in the press conference announcing the changes, this is a retool to manage the challenges Alberta will face in the coming months to restart our economy and bring a semblance of order to an unprecedented period in Alberta’s history due to the global pandemic, the fiscal impacts of recent oil prices, a global economic slowdown and the shutdown and re-start of our provincial economy. The move of Schweitzer into the new role is indicative of the trust Kenney places in him to navigate the road to economic recovery.

Kenney will continue to keep tight oversight of cabinet, ensuring that it is professional, measured, efficient and stable.

What does this mean for you?
This is a retool, moving trusted, competent ministers into roles vital for Alberta’s economic recovery.

Today’s announcements demonstrated Premier Kenney’s loyalty to those in cabinet and highlight his view that he has a team up to leading Alberta through challenging times.

The go-forward
With new ministers and staff, it is time to re-establish relationships. An introduction should be no more than a reach out to make contact, with no substantive asks in the first meeting. Today’s shuffle was about affirming the government’s economic plan in the post-COVID 19 period. The Ministers are expected to continue to “check-off” the election commitments; with sixty-eight per cent started or completed it is not the time to “take the foot off the gas.”

Ministers will take a few weeks to be fully briefed on their portfolios, and those new to cabinet will be guided by veterans in learning their new roles.

Authored by: Natalie Sigalet, Darren Cunningham, Jessica Conlin