Nearly two weeks after being sworn-in as Alberta’s 19th Premier, Danielle Smith announced her new Cabinet. Breaking with tradition by first having one-on-one conversations with every MLA and hosting a caucus retreat, Smith announced a Cabinet that features both continuity and some notable change.

Smith’s Cabinet consists of 24 Ministers who will be supported by 11 Parliamentary Secretaries. Two Deputy Premier roles have also been created representing Edmonton (Kaycee Madu) and Southern Alberta (Nathan Neudorf).

In a speech earlier this week to the Edmonton Chamber, Smith emphasized that her government will not be a “one person show.” The new Premier said she will rely heavily on her Cabinet and work with all of the UCP caucus – both being elements upon which Jason Kenney was seen to fall short.

With session resuming on November 29th, Ministers will have time to get up to speed on their portfolios and prepare for the short session that will focus on the three key priorities already laid out by Smith: sovereignty, health care reform and protection for those that are unvaccinated.

Cabinet Overview

Other appointments include:

What You Need to Know

The media is hungry for a story and Premier Smith has proven herself an extremely able communicator. Combined, the two have driven headlines – often inflammatory – that hold little relevance for the day-to-day workings of government.

For many businesses operating in Alberta, much more important will be the Ministers themselves, the political teams supporting them and the senior department officials charged with getting it done.

For all intents and purposes, Alberta is already in election season. Smith will be defining her Premiership but must do so largely in campaign mode. The priorities expressed during the election campaign and immediate actions put forward for the Fall Sitting of Alberta’s Legislature will prevail.  At the top of list will be the Alberta Sovereignty Act, changes to healthcare / AHS and protections for the unvaccinated.

Significant change to a great many other Government of Alberta “files” – overall approaches, new initiatives, ongoing policies, regulations and actions – should not be expected in the immediate future.

Rachel Notley too will be in full campaign mode. Her New Democrats can be counted on to strongly oppose Smith’s government on most everything in the Legislature and to advance a platform promising to undo and / or reserve many of the “hallmark” initiatives undertaken by the UCP.

Before the dropping of the writ, day-to-day governing of Alberta will continue as normal with a particular focus on seizing the opportunities of a strong economy, a post -COVID environment and a much more positive outlook for our province’s future.

Despite the fireworks we will see in media – and there is much, much more to come – the “rules” of effective government engagement still apply. No matter the shock and awe from both teams, it is business as usual. Proceed accordingly.

Authored by Tim Moro, Natalie Sigalet, Jessica Conlin, and Eliza Snider from H+K’s team in Edmonton and Calgary.