James Allum (Justice) and Greg Dewar (Finance) comment on new cabinet positions
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This article was published 3/11/2014 (2521 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.
Embattled Premier Greg Selinger has plumbed the depths of his backbench and promoted some of his few remaining stars in a cabinet shuffle sparked by the mass resignation of five top ministers this morning.
Selinger announced his new cabinet Monday afternoon following more than a week of internal dissent that continues to threaten his leadership.
Earlier Monday, the so-called Gang of Five - Finance Minister Jennifer Howard, Justice Minister Andrew Swan, Health Minister Erin Selby, Jobs and the Economy Minister Theresa Oswald and Municipal Government Minister Stan Struthers - resigned from cabinet, saying Selinger refused to listen to their advice on his leadership and on other unspecified issues.
Selinger promoted four backbenchers to cabinet, including Selkirk MLA Greg Dewar, who becomes finance minister. At least two rookie ministers were promoted to the front bench.
Selinger called his new cabinet "strong, experienced and focused."
"With this new cabinet we draw from the strengths of our talented caucus," said Selinger. "Together we will listen and focus on the priorities of Manitobans."
Selinger also shrunk the number of cabinet seats from 19 to 18, combining family services and housing once again.
The new cabinet includes:
Greg Dewar (Selkirk), a backbencher for nearly 25 years, has been named Finance Minister, arguably the second-most powerful post in cabinet. He replaces Jennifer Howard, a vocal member of the Gang of Five who resigned from cabinet Monday.
Kevin Chief (Point Douglas), a cabinet rising star, becomes minister of jobs and the economy. He will keep his role as minister responsible for the City of Winnipeg. He replaces Theresa Oswald, who was among those who resigned from cabinet Monday.
Eric Robinson (Kewatinook) takes on the responsibility for Manitoba Hydro in addition to his duties as aboriginal and northern affairs minister. Selinger said Robinson is the first indigenous minister responsible for Hydro.
Sharon Blady (Kirkfield Park), the rookie healthy living minister, has been promoted to minister of health. She replaces Erin Selby, who resigned from cabinet Monday.
Peter Bjornson (Gimli) is moving from housing and community development to education and advanced learning. He held the education portfolio for six years before being shuffled in to more junior ministries.
James Allum (Fort Garry-Riverview) moves from education to justice. Allum, one of the party’s newest stars, appeared last week with Selinger when the premier announced his intention to remain as leader. Allum, who is not a lawyer, replaces Andrew Swan as Justice Minister. Swan resigned from cabinet earlier Monday.
Drew Caldwell (Brandon East), dumped from cabinet more than a decade ago, regains a seat at the table. He replaces Stan Struthers as the municipal government minister; Struthers resigned from cabinet Monday. Selinger said Caldwell has worked with municipalities all over the province as an MLA and welcomed him back to cabinet.
Kerri Irvin-Ross (Fort Richmond), family services minister for the last year, also takes on the housing portfolio. She was housing minister between 2009 and 2013.
Deanne Crothers (St. James) wins her first seat in cabinet as healthy living minister, replacing Blady.
Melanie Wight (Burrows) wins her first cabinet seat, becoming minister of children and youth opportunities.