August 1, 2018 11:35 am
Updated: August 1, 2018 6:52 pm

Pallister shuffles cabinet: Goertzen, Stefanson and Friesen take on new roles, Wishart out

Manitoba Premier Brian Pallister speaking about his government's Throne Speech for 2018.

Jeremy Desrochers / Global News

Premier Brian Pallister made major changes to his cabinet Wednesday.

Kelvin Goertzen has been moved to Education Minister after two years steering the health care ship.

Taking his place as the head of one of the most prolific departments will be Cameron Friesen.

Health care changes have been front and centre in the province since Pallister’s PCs were elected in 2016.

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Brandon University political science professor Dr. Kelly Saunders said she views the move as a indicator of Goertzen’s work.

“Kelvin Goertzen wasn’t doing a good enough job to help them manage that area.”

“[Pallister] is actually demoting him into education,” Dr. Saunders said. “It’s not just a matter of ‘there needs to be a change because the Health Minister is tired.'”

The move will shift the power to a minister who hasn’t worked in health care since serving as the opposition critic in 2016. Dr. Saunders said on Wednesday she thinks it’s a smart one.

“There has been a lot of changes and a focus on the economy and on getting the financial house in order, so I think Pallister has a lot of faith in Friesen to continue what is going to be the toughest part of those health care changes,” she said.

READ MORE: Pallister government maintains lead in Manitoba: Poll

Ian Wishart, MLA for Portage la Prairie and former Minister of Education and Training, is now assistant minister of Education to Goertzen. Wishart will now serve as a legislative assistant and will be tasked with reviewing the K-12 education system.

Elsewhere, Heather Stefanson will be moved from the department of justice to the department of families.

Taking her spot as the new Manitoba Justice Minister will be Cliff Cullen.

Colleen Mayer, who is the MLA for St. Vital, was announced as the new Minister of Crown Services.

Scott Fielding, who has previously worked in city finance, will now take over the province’s department of finance, after serving as Families Minister.

The announcement comes hot on the heels of a new Mainstreet Research Poll that suggests Pallister is still enjoying a comfortable lead over his competition.

According to the survey, the PCs are enjoying just under 45 per cent support.

READ MORE: Manitoba moves closer to carbon price for big emitters

They are well ahead of the NDP, who come in with 29.3 per cent support, and the Liberal Party at 13.6 per cent, who received official party status last week.

Wednesday’s changes will come halfway through the government’s term.

The new list of ministers:

  • Brian Pallister – Premier
  • Cliff Cullen – Minister of Justice and Attorney General
  • Scott Fielding – Minister of Finance
  • Ron R. Schuler – Minister of Infrastructure
  • Cameron Friesen – Minister of Health, Seniors and Active Living
  • Ralph Eichler – Minister of Agriculture
  • Colleen Mayer – Minister of Crown Services
  • Blaine Pedersen – Minister of Growth, Enterprise and Trade
  • Kelvin Goertzen – Minister of Education and Training
  • Heather Stefanson – Minister of Families
  • Eileen Clarke – Minister of Indigenous and Northern Relations
  • Cathy Cox – Minister of Sport, Culture and Heritage
  • Rochelle Squires – Minister of Sustainable Development
  • Jeff Wharton – Minister of Municipal Relations

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