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Tiny bit more cabinet spec

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Yellow Snow has made some very reasonable cabinet shuffle predictions. I specifically agree that Stan Struthers would be a good fit in Ag and Nancy Allan in edumacation.

I’d also like to amend my slightly less specific predictions by suggesting Steve Ashton would make a good energy and mines minister, with added responsibility for Manitoba Hydro. I should have thought of that last weekend, but someone smarter than me mentioned the idea to me recently.

The power company was split off from Jim Rondeau’s current portfolio and handed to former finance minister Greg Selinger. I always wondered whether that made sense. Energy, and in particular the climate change office, are totally intertwined with Hydro, policy-wise. There’s a fair bit of tension there, too.

Hydro also needs someone with a bit of heft to oversee it – someone with the force of personality to deliver a few voice-of-doom phone calls to 360 Portage Avenue. That’s not Rondeau’s forte.

It might be Ashton’s, though. Despite his outsider status, even his opponents say he’s always had a good grasp of his portfolios and his word carries weight at the cabinet table.

Plus, he knows the North, where all the dams are and he can raise a little hell at Hydro when need be.

The feeling is that Doer protected Hydro a lot, shying away from demanding more action and accountability from what’s a fairly slow-moving and insular company. Selinger could be different, and the first test of that might be who he names to watchdog the power company.
 

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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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