Monday, September 25, 2006

Revised cabinet prediction

Based on comments from Premier-designate Graham in the media, I am assuming we will be looking at a slightly smaller cabinet than what is currently on the books. The outgoing Lord cabinet has 19 ministers, including the premier. I will forecast the Graham cabinet to have 18 ministers, including the premier.

Thus, I must cut two from the cabinet. There are two portfolios I will drop. 1.) a stand alone Minister of Labour; functions currently past of Post-secondary Education and Training will remain with Lamrock's portfolio, while the Office of Human Resources will return to its traditional home with the Minister of Finance. 2.) Tourism & Parks is a very small portfolio and one that under Liberal governments has tended to be a part of the Economic Development department, therefore I will peg Tourism to Business New Brunswick, parks may go there as well or may go to the Department of Natural Resources.

The two portfolios to trim was easy, trimming two ministers from the cabinet is more difficult.

First, I will withdraw Abel LeBlanc's name from consideration. The former longshoreman probably could be a liability in the cabinet with loose cannon tendancies, however I thought he would be an ideal candidate to negotiate with unions, having intimiate knowledge of the thought paterns and strategies of organized labour. Without a separate labour portfolio, it is hard to find him a home and, moreover, Saint John will have lots of representation anyway with MacIntyre and Doherty (and particularly if you count Schryer and Doucet as from "greater Saint John").

For the second minister to miss the cut, things become more difficult. We cannot remove anyone from Southeastern New Brunswick and the most logical woman to be left out, which I think would be a mistake anyway, is Cheryl Lavoie who seems to have accidentally confirmed she is in the cabinet today. It is hard to consider Carmel Robichaud as being from Miramichi and they would be very angry to be left from the cabinet table, thus John Foran must be included or he must be replaced with another area member.

The Upper St. John Valley through most of Restigouche County has only two Government MLAs and both must be offered a seat at the table, however, it is possible that Dr. Larry Kennedy would decline cabinet, as he has in the past, saving the premier a headache. Otherwise, the only remaining choice would be Donald Arseneault. So either Kennedy declines and Arseneault is in or Arseneault doesn't make the cut. I can't imagine Kennedy standing in the way of a young up-and-comer and I suspect he is still quite happy maintaining his medical practice, so I will say the second name off of my original list will be Dr. Larry Kennedy.

The resulting removal of members from the cabinet leaves us with the need to make some changes. Kennedy's departure frees up the Department of Supply & Services, LeBlanc disappears with a portfolio that I have removed, while Arseneault's Tourism portfolio has also vanished. It is not, however, a simple matter of giving Supply and Services to Arseneault as that file would not necessarily be a good fit.

So, here we go. Some people will not be moving, so we have the:

No changes

  • Greg Byrne, President of the Executive Council and Minister of Finance

  • Kelly Lamrock, Government House Leader and Minister of Learning, Employment & Innovation

  • Roly MacIntyre, Minister of Energy

  • Roland Haché, Minister of Health

  • Victor Boudreau, Minister of Education

  • Mary Schryer, Minister of Business New Brunswick and Minister responsible for the Status of Women

  • Mike Murphy, Attorney General and Minister of Justice and Consumer Affairs

  • Dr. Ed Doherty, Minister of Family & Community Services and Minister responsible for Housing

  • John Foran, Minister of Public Safety

  • Cheryl Lavoie, Minister of Wellness, Culture & Sport and Minister responsible for Seniors

  • Bernard LeBlanc, Minister of Local Government

  • Carmel Robichaud, Minister of Fisheries

  • Rick Doucet, Minister of Agriculture & Aquaculture

And as a result of shuffling around my previous portfolios, we get the following changes:

Hédard Albert, Minister responsible for the Regional Development Corporation and Minister responsible for the Northern New Brunswick Initiative

With the Liberal focus on the economy and on economic development, it makes sense to give RDC its own minister (as was the case under previous Liberal governments), in the meantime the Charter for Change promises to "assign responsibility for the Northern New Brunswick Initiatve to a Minister with an economic portfolio."

Donald Arseneault, Minister of Natural Resources

No real reasoning here, it seems to fit Arseneault and some pointed out that having a Minister of Natural Resources doubling as Minister responsible for Aboriginal Affairs would create a conflict so I wanted to move this away from Burke.

T.J. Burke, Minister of Transportation, Minister of Supply & Services and Minister responsible for Aboriginal Affairs

As I've said in the comments, I can't imagine Burke not being the minister responsible for Aboriginal Affairs. As for the rest, I thought it would make sense to put Transportation and Supply & Services together as both are largely concerned with government procurement.

Ronald Ouelette, Minister of the Environment and Minister responsible for the Population Secretariat

I've given Ouellette responsibility for the Population Secretariat as he has had the immigration file in opposition. Environment landed here simply because it fit, not for a specific reason.


Anonymous said...

Supply and Services and Transportation are two huge departments. To put them together is unlikely although both do government procurement. I doubt it. Rest looks quite likely.

nbpolitico said...

They used to be together in NB and still are in NS.

Supply and Services is both complex and considered low profile / unimportant by the media.

It needs an experienced MLA but can't go - at least not alone - to a high profile player which leaves you with a difficult predicament.

Thus I put it back with Transportation, where it is in a number of other jurisdictions and used to be in NB.

You are right that it may not happen but this is all guess work and is really more of a "what I would do" than a prediction despite being labelled as such.

Pete said...

I think you're right to reconsider Larry Kennedy for a cabinet position. Although he'll certainly be offered a post, I agree that he is very unlikely to give up his practice for it.

Anonymous said...

Let me make a bold prediction that may be a huge shocker when cabinet is actually announced. Mike Murphy will not be the Justice Minster. He will get the Finance Portfolio.

Murphy for years has been one of the most prominent personal injury lawyers in the province. With the insurance issue, it is a department that he simply will not want to touch...

Still on the Justice issue (althugh not cabinet). Yassin Choukri has resigned as deputy minister of Justice. The logical replacement for him would be 3 time candidate, 3 time loser Serge Roussel. He is a former Dean of the U de M law school, and has a PHD in Law. Although people can't connect with him enough to elect him, he would make an excellent deputy-minister.

nbpolitico said...

anon at 6:19 - interesting predictions. I can't not imagine Murphy will get finance, though it is possible he may get something other than Justice.

On Roussel, possible but the way the Liberals have been talking I expect them to stay away from those sorts of political appointments. Though, I suppose, despite partisanship, Roussel is very, very qualified.

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