(crossposted to CanadaEast)
A very small shuffle to the cabinet was announced today, with two new ministers added to the cabinet and three ministers changing jobs.
Surprisingly, none of the additions to the cabinet were women (of which Cheryl Lavoie and Joan MacAlpine-Stiles were options) or from Moncton proper (of which Chris Collins and, again, Joan MacAlpine-Stiles were options). Instead, Wally Stiles, an MLA from Greater Moncton, and sitting speaker Eugene McGinley were added to the cabinet - increasing the representation of Greater Fredericton to 4 (if you count Grand Lake-Gagetown), while Moncton stands at 2 or 3 (depending of if you count Shediac) and Saint John stands at 5 or 6 (depending on if you count Charlotte-The Isles).
This decreases the size of the Liberal backbench to 10 and means there will have to be a new election for Speaker. Deputy Speakers Roy Boudreau and Brian Kenny would be possibilities. Other than Larry Kennedy, who past experience suggests is content to be a backbencher, the only other MLA with substantial legislative experience is Joan MacAlpine-Stiles.
I think Wally Stiles is certainly a good choice for cabinet, in general, as I always thought he was a lot stronger of a performer than a number of people that went into the cabinet over him during the Lord years; however I am not sure how well received it will be by the press, as he is a recent floor crosser, or by other Greater Moncton MLAs like Bernard LeBlanc and Chris Collins.
As I predicted, Mary Schryer has earned a promotion and that promotion has been to Family & Community Services. That was all I got right however; the size of the shuffle and the rest of the players invovled were pretty off base.
The Premier sheds his responsibility for Wellness, Culture & Sport which goes to Hédard Albert.
Albert's Human Resources portfolio goes to new minister Wally Stiles.
Former speaker McGinley picks up Schryer's responsibilities for Housing and Seniors, which makes sense as McGinley was critic for seniors' issues in opposition.
Finally, Carmel Robichaud, takes over the Local Government portfolio which had been held by Finance Minister Victor Boudreau. She also gives her responsibilities for Status of Women to Schryer and gains new responsibilities for the non-profit sector as a result of the Bradshaw Commission.