PREMIER Greg Selinger has filled a couple of holes in his cabinet brought on by the retirements of his finance and conservation ministers.

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PREMIER Greg Selinger has filled a couple of holes in his cabinet brought on by the retirements of his finance and conservation ministers.

Dauphin MLA Stan Struthers, who holds the agricultural portfolio, will be acting finance minister, while Kildonan MLA Dave Chomiak becomes the acting conservation minister. Chomiak, already minister of innovation, energy and mines, will also take on responsibility for Manitoba Hydro.

At the NDP swearing in ceremony, MLA Stan Struthers congratulates newcomer Deanne Crothers after she took the MLA oath at the  Manitoba legislature Wednesday. Crothers is the new NDP MLA for St. James.

PHOTOS BY WAYNE GLOWACKI / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS

At the NDP swearing in ceremony, MLA Stan Struthers congratulates newcomer Deanne Crothers after she took the MLA oath at the Manitoba legislature Wednesday. Crothers is the new NDP MLA for St. James.

Longtime Swan River MLA Rosann Wowchuk, Manitoba's first female finance minister, did not run in this month's election. Former Elmwood MLA Bill Blaikie, who held the conservation portfolio, also retired from public life.

Meanwhile, the election of the Speaker will be the first item of business as the 40th Manitoba legislature begins today, followed by the throne speech.

Three NDP MLAs are vying for the position, selected in a secret-ballot vote of all MLAs. Greg Dewar (Selkirk), Daryl Reid (Transcona) and Tom Nevakshonoff (Interlake) have let their names stand.

Former Point Douglas MLA George Hickes, who had been Speaker since 1999, has retired.

On Wednesday, all MLAs were sworn into office except for the members from Kirkfield Park and St. Norbert. Official recounts from the Oct. 4 election have yet to take place in the two constituencies. On election night, the NDP's Sharon Blady finished with 26 more votes than Conservative Kelly de Groot in Kirkfield Park. New Democrat Dave Gaudreau was 30 votes up on PC candidate Karen Velthuys in St. Norbert. The recounts will take place next week.

 

Kevin Chief, the new NDP MLA for Point Douglas, takes the MLA oath.

Kevin Chief, the new NDP MLA for Point Douglas, takes the MLA oath.