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Plus ca change...

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Tory boss Hugh McFadyen un-shuffled his shadow cabinet today, basically putting it back to the way it was before the election.

Steinbach MLA Kelvin Goertzen returns to the justice beat after a short and unremarkable stint as health critic. That switcheroo just didn't stick - we all kept going to health maven Myrna Driedger when we needed someone to beat up on Manitoba Health, and she asked most of the sick people questions during QP anyway, which raised some eyebrows. Driedger has a bevy of doctor and nurse sources, a good institutional memory and she almost always comes armed with documents she's managed to pry out of the the WRHA's access to information police. Plus she's lots of fun, even though she sometimes goes off half-cocked.

The savvy and combative Goertzen is better suited to crime and punishment anyway. He was the architect of the party's crime platform during the election - a focused week that was probably the party's best. He was unusually low-key after the election - some started wondering if he had just given up entirely on provincial politics and was biding his time until Vic Toews stepped down. But Goertzen got a second wind during the filibuster, which he helped orchestrate and clearly had fun doing.

Couple other interesting moves - enviro critic Heather Stefanson keeps the green portfolio and takes over responsibility for all things Winnipeg from Bonnie Mitchelson, who is now the child welfare critic. Those could be front-page portfolios, if the Tories can get their act together. Plus, those are two decent Winnipeg MLAs who could use a little more face time if the Tories expect to make any inroads with suburban voters. Winnipeg issues get lost in the avalanche of endless questions about rural nursing homes and the Portage overpass. 

And, the ever-dapper Larry Maguire gets the added responsibility of kvetching about the inland port, a complicated and fascinating economic development issue that no one outside the political and business elite cares that much about. Yet.

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About Mary Agnes Welch

Mary Agnes Welch joined the Free Press in 2002, first as a general assignment reporter and then covering city hall and the Manitoba legislature before moving to her current post as public policy reporter.

Before Winnipeg, she worked at the Windsor Star and the Odessa American, a small daily newspaper in West Texas. There, in addition to covering more than 20 counties, she took high school football scores from coaches all over West Texas by phone every Friday night.

Mary Agnes is a graduate of Columbia University’s journalism school, has won several Western Ontario Newspaper Awards and has been part of two teams of reporters nominated for a Michener Award. In 2011, she was nominated for a National Newspaper Award in the beat category. She is also the former national president of the Canadian Association of Journalists.

She once misspelled "Shih Tzu" in the paper and received 37 emails from angry dog-owners.

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