WATCH ABOVE: Alberta officially has a new premier. In a family-friendly ceremony Sunday in Edmonton, Rachel Notley and her cabinet were sworn in. Eric Szeto has the details.
EDMONTON – A new era in Alberta politics has begun as Rachel Notley was sworn in as the 17th premier of Alberta Sunday afternoon.
“Welcome to the first day of Alberta’s new government,” Notley said to a large, boisterous crowd at the Alberta Legislature grounds.
“Today we open up a new chapter in the story of Alberta.”
Notley’s 11 cabinet ministers were also sworn in at the family-friendly ceremony in Edmonton.
“For the first time in many years we have an efficient and lean cabinet to get down to work and to deliver results,” Notley said. “This is a cabinet that is build to work and to get the job done.”
Notley said the 11 men and women in her cabinet will focus firmly on the solving the challenges ahead.
“The team will work every day to listen to Albertans, to earn public trust and to deliver on our commitments from this talented team I have selected.”
WATCH: Rachel Notley and her cabinet sworn in
The Alberta cabinet positions break down as follows:
- Rachel Notley – Minister of International and Intergovernmental Relations
- Brian Mason – Minister of Infrastructure and Minister of Transportation
- David Eggen – Minister of Education and Minister of Culture and Tourism
- Deron Bilous – Minister of Municipal Affairs and Minister of Service Alberta
- Joe Ceci – Minister of Finance and President of Treasury Board
- Sarah Hoffman – Minister of Health and Minister of Seniors
- Shannon Phillips – Minister of Environment and Parks and Minister Responsible for the Status of Women
- Irfan Sabir – Minister of Human Services
- Kathleen Ganley – Minister of Justice and Solicitor General and Minister of Aboriginal Affairs
- Oneil Carlier – Minister of Agriculture and Forestry
- Lori Sigurdson – Minister of Innovation and Advanced Education and Minister of Jobs, Skills Training and Labour
- Margaret McCuaig-Boyd – Minister of Energy
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Following the ceremony Notley and her caucus joined the crowd for a meet-and-greet.
Mason, who studied political science at the University of Alberta, said he was really emotional throughout the ceremony.
“When we sang ‘O Canada’ I was choking back tears. It was very emotional for me,” he said. “So many things that we’ve worked for for so many years are going to come to pass.”
Mason believes there are many things that need to be done, going into the role as Infrastructure Minister and Transportation Minister.
“There’s major issues that are outstanding. There’s the schools, there’s highways—Highway 63 has been a controversial issue—Foothills and the Tom Baker Cancer Centre in Calgary. So there’s a wide range of things and I just want to sit down with my deputy ministers and go through where the department is, what they think needs to be done, look at the priority list.”
Prior to Sunday’s cabinet announcement there was much speculation that Hoffman, the former Edmonton Public School Board chair, would be named Minister of Education. She said she’s honoured with the portfolios she’s been given: Health and Seniors.
“I have always been a big supporter of our premier and when she asked me to step up to the plate in this way I said, ‘Absolutely.’ I’m here to serve, as we are in government, to serve Albertans and I’m up for the task,” said Hoffman.
READ MORE: Who’s in Premier Rachel Notley’s cabinet?
Eggen, a former teacher who was named to the Education and Culture and Tourism portfolios, said he was proud to be chosen as a minister.
“I have a very large responsibility in regards to education, as well as culture and tourism,” he said. “I’m here to serve and I’m just so glad that Rachel put her trust in me.”
Eggen said there’s an emergent issue around funding for education, and cuts to education that need to be addressed.
“I’ll get straight to work first thing tomorrow morning.”
Newcomer McCuaig-Boyd said she’s really excited to take on the Energy portfolio. As vice-president of Grande Prairie Regional College’s Fairview Campus, McCuaig-Boyd said one of her main duties was to liaise with industry.
“I understand we’ve already got some meetings set up with industry, so those will be out priorities – meeting with industry in the next few weeks.”
The NDP ended 44 years of PC political reign in Alberta by winning a 54-seat majority in the May 5 election.
WATCH: Premier Rachel Notley speaks to a boisterous crowd at the Alberta Legislature grounds