Wednesday, October 31, 2007

A teeny weeny cabinet shuffle

(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 H├ędard 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.


NB taxpayer said...

Oh, how wonderful. We have one of the largest provincial bureaucracies in Canada and now they want to make it even bigger. I guess maybe that's why Boudreau is musing over another tax hike as somebody's got to pay for these additional bureaucrats.

With the manufacturing, lumber and textile industries bleeding, I would have rather seen the government reduce the amount of Ministries,d cut down the size of government and slash useless programs. I would have even liked to have seen them implement your plan nbp:

"Uhhh, well I would assume that BNB and RDC at least have their own payroll departments, own HR, etc. You would need only one such unit for one department. That is just common sense. Mergers always result in reduced overhead because there is inevitably duplication in two organizations that is not required in one."

Good plan. Although talking about reduced overhead and cutting government waste and doing it are two totally different things.

nbpolitico said...

Well in fairness, this will only cost the taxpayers an extra $80,981.72 or, if you prefer about 11¢ each, per year. There are no new departments or bureaucracies being created here - just two additional ministers to oversee departments that previously had ministers doing double duty.

Anonymous said...

It's good that Local Government is finally a seperate portfolio, that department's been neglected too long. But I'm disappointed that Chris Collins wasn't named to Cabinet, he would have been a great Minister and he won in Bernard Lord's old riding.

K.-J. said...

Why haven't they demoted Mike Murphy yet??? He's arrogent and been an complete disaster as Health Minister!!!

NB taxpayer said...

As I said, more ministers, less backbenchers and additional staff. If somehow that isn't larger than I give up. Or maybe you guys go without secretaries and EAs like the ministers in the 1930s.

Oh btw, giving up on that merger thing I see.

nbpolitico said...

I think a big ministry along the lines of the Economic Development, Tourism and Culture Department that McKenna had would be a good thing and I think putting all of the agencies responsible for growing the population and the economy would make sense. I don't think it is the only answer and I was really suggesting that that is what they should do, it was simply something I saw as a possibility considering that in Sept they named the same man to be deputy minister of both business and self-sufficiency.

Spinks said...

C'mon NB Politico. Sure its peanuts but when it comes on the same day that Victor Boudreau talks about raising the HST, it sure doesn't say to me that this is a government that has any desire to live within its means. A little bit of walking the talk would be right on.

Anonymous said...

I wouldn't count out mergers yet. As the premier mentioned at the bi-annual meeting last week, the road to self-sufficiency is being based on four pillars, one of which is transforming goverment. That could mean new departments (combining some back together or creating brand new ones), shared services has been floated around since the Lord days too and as come up in the media since Graham took over. So we could see the merged department that NBP first thought of or maybe as simple as moving Tourism back with BNB or we could see one IT, Accounts Payable, etc divisions to serve all departments. But then, as NB Taxpayer likes to believe, we could see a whole lot more bureaucracy.

nbpolitico said...

There's an old saying, you've got to spend money to make money. Similarly, we need to invest in our provinces infrastructure, pay down our debts and restructure government to serve the interests of a perpetually growing economy. You can't do that for free and you are going to need to get some capital to do it.

I didn't hear Boudreau on the radio, but he seemed to be taking his cue from Jack Mintz who said that the province should hold the HST at 14 or 13.5 when the feds dropped it a point but, at the same time, lower corporate and personal income tax rates by the same amount.

This way we get the same flexibility we needed to get under the tax increases from this past spring, but without the associated loss in our pocket books as the sales tax would remain at the same rate (just a change in the ratio of what goes to the feds and what goes to the province) and income taxes would be reduced.

Anonymous said...

Good shuffle. At least Graham kept Joani out. Now if he can get rid of Mike Murphy then he got it made.

Anonymous said...

Well NBP, you might have to spend to make, but when you Tax to Spend thats another story as far as Stilles well the pay off was comming it was just a matter of when. Who ever loses the chair there will be hell to pay because backbenchers of 2003 will not put up with it ask Brian Kenny who should have been put in Cabinet last year, rumour has it that Roy Boudreau is getting the chair.