Manitoba Premier Heather Stefanson revealed her new-look Cabinet.
This is Stefanson’s first cabinet shuffle since taking over as Premier in November 2021.
On the health side, Audrey Gordon (MLA for Southdale) remains the minister of health, while Scott Johnston comes into Cabinet to lead the new department of seniors and long-term care, and Sarah Guillemard (MLA for Fort Richmond) takes on the new role as minister of mental health and community wellness.
When asked why there are 3 health-related portfolios, Stefanson believes the province needs them.
“We’ve seen, obviously, through the pandemic that there is a need for more emphasis in healthcare in the province,” the Premier said. “I think there needs to be more of a focus on seniors, more of an advocacy…and I’m really excited to expand that to ensure that we’re doing everything we can to get through this pandemic and move forward after it.”
Eileen Clarke (MLA for Agassiz) returns to Cabinet as minister of municipal relations, a position she held previously after being elected in 2016.
Clarke returns to Cabinet after resigning in July 2021 from her role as minister of indigenous and northern relations, after former-Premier Brian Pallister made controversial comments about colonialism in Canada.
“A request from the Premier (Heather Stefanson) prompted me and it was really rewarding to know she had trust in my abilities,” Clarke answered when asked what prompted her to return to Cabinet. “I think her and I worked really well in my previous role and her previous role in families for instance.”
There were two new members to Cabinet – Doyle Piwniuk (MLA for Turtle Mountain) as minister of transportation and infrastructure, and Andrew Smith (MLA for Lagimodiere) as minister of sport, culture and heritage, and minister responsible for Travel Manitoba and the Manitoba Centennial Centre Corporation (MCCC).
Other changes to Cabinet include:
- Cliff Cullen (MLA for Spruce Woods) as deputy premier and minister of economic development, investment and trade;
- Kelvin Goertzen (MLA for Steinbach) as minister of justice and attorney general, and minister responsible for Manitoba Public Insurance (MPI) and government house leader;
- Cameron Friesen (MLA for Morden-Winkler) as minister of finance and minister responsible for Manitoba Hydro;
- Scott Fielding (MLA for Kirkfield Park) as minister of natural resources and northern development, and minister responsible for the Manitoba Liquor and Lotteries Corporation (MBLL);
- Jeff Wharton (MLA for Red River North) as minister of environment, climate and parks, and minister responsible for Efficiency Manitoba;
- Reg Helwer (MLA for Brandon West) as minister of labour, consumer protection and government services, minister responsible for the Public Utilities Board (PUB) and minister responsible for the civil service;
- Wayne Ewasko (MLA for Lac du Bonnet) as minister of education and early childhood learning;
- Derek Johnson (MLA for Interlake-Gimli) as minister of agriculture; and
- Jon Reyes (MLA for Waverley) as minister of advanced education, skills and immigration.
In a news release, the premier noted ” Rochelle Squires (MLA for Riel) will assume the roles of minister responsible for the status of women and minister responsible for accessibility while continuing as minister of families and minister responsible for francophone affairs.
Alan Lagimodiere (MLA for Selkirk) remains minister of Indigenous reconciliation and northern relations with a renewed focus to work collaboratively with Indigenous leadership and the federal government to pursue social and economic opportunities for Indigenous youth and families.”
Premier Stefanson also thanked former agriculture minister Ralph Eichler and former minister of sport, culture and heritage, and minister responsible for status of women, Cathy Cox, for their service in various Cabinet positions since 2016.