Dunderdale shuffles, cuts the cabinet deck

James
James McLeod
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Published on October 29, 2011

Lt.-Gov. John Crosbie and Premier Kathy Dunderdale. — Photo by Keith Gosse/The Telegram

Published on October 29, 2011

Lt.Gov. John Crosbie and Joan Burke, Minister of Advanced Education and Skills and Minister Responsible for Persons with Disabilities and Youth Engagement. — Photo by Keith Gosse/The Telegram

Published on October 29, 2011

Lt.-Gov. John Crosbie and Felix Collins, Minister of Justice and Attorney General. — Photo by Keith Gosse/The Telegram

Published on October 29, 2011

Lt.-Gov. John Crosbie and Derrick Dalley, Minister of Tourism, Culture and Recreation. — Photo by Keith Gosse/The Telegram

Published on October 29, 2011

Lt.-Gov. John Crosbie and Paul Davis, Minister of Service Newfoundland and Labrador and Minister Responsible for the Government Purchasing Agency, Office of the Chief Information Officer, and the Workplace Health, Safety and Compensation Commission. — Photo by Keith Gosse/The Telegram

Published on October 29, 2011

Lt.-Gov. John Crosbie and Terry French, Minister of Environment and Conservation and Minister Responsible for the Labour Relations Agency, the Multi Materials Stewardship Board and Office of Climate Change, Energy Efficiency and Emissions Trading. — Photo by Keith Gosse/The Telegram

Published on October 29, 2011

Lt.-Gov. John Crosbie and Tom Hedderson, Minister of Transportation and Works and Minister Responsible for the Newfoundland and Labrador Housing Corporation. — Photo by Keith Gosse/The Telegram

Published on October 29, 2011

Lt.-Gov. John Crosbie and Keith Hutchings, Minister of Innovation, Business and Rural Development and Minister Responsible for the Rural Secretariat, and the Research and Development Corporation. — Photo by Keith Gosse/The Telegram

Published on October 29, 2011

Lt.-Gov. John Crosbie and Clyde Jackman, Minister of Education. — Photo by Keith Gosse/The Telegram

Published on October 29, 2011

Lt.-Gov. John Crosbie and Charlene JohnsonMinister of Child, Youth and Family Services and Minister Responsible for the Status of Women. — Photo by Keith Gosse/The Telegram

Published on October 29, 2011

Lt.-Gov. John Crosbie and Jerome Kennedy, Minister of Natural Resources, Minister Responsible for the Forestry and Agrifoods Agency and Government House Leader. — Photo by Keith Gosse/The Telegram

Published on October 29, 2011

Lt.-Gov. John Crosbie and Darin King, Minister of Fisheries and Aquaculture and Deputy Government House Leader. — Photo by Keith Gosse/The Telegram

Published on October 29, 2011

Lt.-Gov. John Crosbie and Tom Marshall, Minister of Finance, President of Treasury Board and Minister Responsible for the Public Service Secretariat, the Public Service Commission and the Newfoundland and Labrador Liquor Corporation. — Photo by Keith Gosse/The Telegram

Published on October 29, 2011

Lt.-Gov. John Crosbie and Nick McGrath, Minister for Intergovernmental and Aboriginal Affairs and Minister Responsible for Labrador Affairs, and the Voluntary and Non-Profit Sector. — Photo by Keith Gosse/The Telegram

Published on October 29, 2011

Lt.-Gov. John Crosbie and Kevin O’Brien, Minister of Municipal Affairs and Minister Responsible for Fire and Emergency Services - Newfoundland and Labrador, and Registrar General. — Photo by Keith Gosse/The Telegram

Published on October 29, 2011

Lt.-Gov. John Crosbie and Susan Sullivan, Minister of Health and Community Services and Minister Responsible for Aging and Seniors, and Francophone Affairs. — Photo by Keith Gosse/The Telegram

Smaller cabinet shifts portfolios, eliminates departments

Premier Kathy Dunderdale almost completely rearranged her team Friday morning, unveiling her post-election cabinet.

Of the 16 cabinet posts, only five ministers remained in the same spot they held before the Oct. 11 election.

Dunderdale also killed two government departments — Human Resources, Labour and Employment (HRLE) and Business — and managed to shrink the cabinet from 19 down to 16.

“If we could shrink the cabinet, that’s always something that you look at. You want to be efficient in terms of the work that you’re doing,” Dunderdale said. “We were able to trim cabinet by three ministers, and that’s a good thing to do.”

Much of HRLE will be folded into a new department headed by veteran minister Joan Burke.

As head of the new department “Advanced Education and Skills, and minister responsible for persons with disabilities and youth engagement,” Burke will also take in post-secondary education and trades issues.

“There’s a significant number of programs that are in HRLE that are going to the new department, but we’re putting a very particular focus on advanced studies and skills development and apprenticeships here in the province,” Dunderdale said.

“All of the other programs that we’ve moved into this new department are all cross-linked with the economy in significant ways, so it makes a lot of sense to have all of that.”

The Labour Relations agency will move to the Environment Department, and some of the HRLE regulatory functions will now come under the Department of Government Services, which has been rebranded as “Service Newfoundland and Labrador.”

Charlene Johnson stayed on as minister of child, youth and family services, and the minister responsible for the status of women.

Terry French moved into the role of environment minister, and minister responsible for the labour relations agency.

Tom Marshall will continue in his role as minister of finance.

Darin King became the minister of fisheries.

Susan Sullivan became the new minister of health and community services, taking over from Jerome Kennedy who took over as minister of natural resources.

Felix Collins stayed on as minister of justice and attorney general.

Kevin O’Brien kept his post as minister of municipal affairs.

Derrick Dalley took over as tourism and culture minister.

Tom Hedderson stayed on as minister of transportation and works, and minister responsible for the Newfoundland and Labrador Housing Corp.

There were three new faces in cabinet as well.Backbench MHA Paul Davis became the minister responsible for service Newfoundland and Labrador.

Keith Hutchings moved into the Department of Innovation, Business and Rural Development, which will incorporate the old Innovation Trade and Rural Development, and also fold in the responsibilities of the now-defunct Department of Business.

“If we could shrink the cabinet, that’s always something that you look at. You want to be efficient in terms of the work that you’re doing. We were able to trim cabinet by three ministers, and that’s a good thing to do.” Premier Kathy Dunderdale

And rookie Labrador West MHA Nick McGrath will take on the roles of three former cabinet ministers, responsible for Labrador, Aboriginal and Intergovernmental Affairs.

Dunderdale said those three roles fit together naturally.

“It’s more important that aboriginal governments be in intergovernmental affairs because that’s where that work takes place, and I think that’s a more appropriate place for it, rather than stand alone,” she said. “In terms of Labrador Affairs, I would like to see that portfolio follow the minister, in the same way that the status of women portfolio follows a minister.”

Opposition parties were largely positive about the shuffle. Both the Liberals and the NDP have said for a long time that the Department of Business was unnecessary, and should be eliminated.

However, there was criticism that the new cabinet didn’t include a single MHA from St. John’s,

“While the premier may live in St. John’s, we all know that accessibility to a minister is very critical to the city, especially to businesses and industry that operate in the city,” Opposition Leader Yvonne Jones said. “Tom Osborne probably has more experience in the House of Assembly and in government than any other member that she has in her caucus. Why she chose not to appoint him, I certainly can’t answer for that.”

NDP MHA George Murphy, also questioned the lack of St. John’s representation, but said the four NDP members from the capital city will do a fine job of advocating for the people.

Deputy Mayor Shannie Duff didn’t seem too concerned, though. She said the city will just advocate directly to Dunderdale, who represents the St. John’s district of Virginia Waters.

“We’re not unrepresented, because actually we have the premier herself, who is the top dog,” she said. “I know she has a very busy lady, but she’ll be the person now that we have direct access with to discuss issues of concern.”

Murphy also questioned how the breakup of HRLE will go, especially when it comes to income support and social services.

“We don’t know where income assistance is gone, for example, and you know, where’s this department that’s helping out the most vulnerable, where do the people go?” he asked.

A spokesman for the government said services will not be interrupted, and as far as how exactly the division of responsibilities will happen, more details will be revealed next week.

jmcleod@thetelegram.com

Twitter: TelegramJames

Organizations: Newfoundland and Labrador Housing Corp.There, Rural Development, Labour Relations agency Environment Department Government Services Department of Innovation Department of Business.And NDP

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Recent comments

  • joannie
    October 19, 2012 - 18:58

    Optics abound - what exactly is the difference between advanced education and skills AND post-secondary education and trades issues. How is this a new department for Burke? Somebody's tired.

  • yah
    October 30, 2011 - 04:22

    Environment and Labour. Makes sense!

  • DON II
    October 29, 2011 - 14:32

    The retention of Clyde Jackman, Tom Hedderson and Terry French in the Cabinet is a big mistake and the Premier will discover that in the foreseeable future.

  • garry
    October 29, 2011 - 14:01

    yes blunderdale did trim the cabinet but how many new relatives will be hired to support the ministers with new duties,just saying

  • Jordan
    October 29, 2011 - 13:27

    Kathy Dunderdale represents a city district, Keith Hutchings represents part of the Goulds and Paul Davis represents part of Mount Pearl. There are other ministers who live in St. John's as well.

  • Bill
    October 29, 2011 - 11:07

    So no Cabinet Ministers for St. John's and Mount Pearl where most of the electorate resides and it will be next week before anyone knows where Social Services and Income Support will be located. What a great plan by the new Premier! She alone will represent the views of the masses and she had deemed that Social programs are so insignificant that she tore apart that Department. Hold on tight because Hurricane Kathy is going to be around for 4 more years!

  • Skeptical Cynic
    October 29, 2011 - 09:03

    There's no way in hell that Dunderdale would be premier right now if it wasn't for Danny Williams, and now she's completely disowned him. The only word that comes to mind is "ingrate". Prediction: Dean MacDonald will run for the leadership of the Liberal Party. Danny Williams will endorse his leadership bid, which MacDonald will win easily. In the next provincial election the Tories will lose their majority in the H of A. Dunderdale will be ousted as leader. And all will be right with the universe.