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N.S. cabinet shuffle names new ministers to forestry, health, heritage and advanced education

Click to play video 'N.S. cabinet shuffle names new health minister mid-pandemic' N.S. cabinet shuffle names new health minister mid-pandemic
WATCH: N.S. cabinet shuffle names new health minister mid-pandemic – Oct 13, 2020

Nova Scotia Premier Stephen McNeil shuffled his cabinet Monday to fill ministerial vacancies.

The shuffle comes after the province’s labour, health and lands and forestry ministers resigned to take part in Nova Scotia’s Liberal leadership race.

Derek Mombourquette has been named Minister of Lands and Foresty which will be added to his existing portfolio of energy and mines.

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McNeil discusses new cabinet appointments – Oct 13, 2020

“I’m happy to do what I do,” said Mombourquette on Tuesday after the cabinet shuffle.

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He said he’s looking forward to being filled in and briefed on his new position but said his two roles are complementary to one another.

Nova Scotia’s minister of mines and energy Derek Mombourquette speaks with Global News on July 4, 2019.
Nova Scotia’s minister of mines and energy Derek Mombourquette speaks with Global News on July 4, 2019. Alexander Quon/Global News

Lena Diab was named as the new Minister of Advanced Education and Labour.

The role will be added to her existing portfolio as Minister of Immigration and Minister of Acadian Affairs and Francophonie.

Click to play video 'N.S. cabinet shuffle names new ministers to forestry, health, heritage and advanced education' N.S. cabinet shuffle names new ministers to forestry, health, heritage and advanced education
N.S. cabinet shuffle names new ministers to forestry, health, heritage and advanced education – Oct 13, 2020

Read more: Observers note lack of diversity in N.S. Liberal leadership race

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Diab, addressing why she chose not to join her colleagues in taking part in the leadership race, said she is extremely proud of what she has contributed to the government

“I look forward to the next opportunity — whatever it is — to expand the opportunities for Nova Scotians.”

Click to play video 'Coronavirus: McNeil says Nova Scotians should be ‘proud’ of work done so far to stem the virus’ spread' Coronavirus: McNeil says Nova Scotians should be ‘proud’ of work done so far to stem the virus’ spread
Coronavirus: McNeil says Nova Scotians should be ‘proud’ of work done so far to stem the virus’ spread – Oct 13, 2020

Leo Glavine will take on the role as Minister of Health and Wellness.

It’s the second time Glavine has been in charge of the portfolio.

“I feel I can get up to speed pretty quickly,” Glavine said while admitting that the COVID-19 pandemic does pose challenges to the province’s health system.

Backbencher Suzanne Lohnes-Croft has been named as the new Minister of Culture and Heritage as well as Gaelic affairs to fill Glavine’s prior position.

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Lohnes-Croft says she has had a background in music and an interest in the province’s history so she’s looking forward to her new role.

“(Being named to cabinet) caught me completely off guard,” Lohnes-Croft admitted.

“I may have to polish up on my Gaelic.”

Click to play video 'Premier Stephen McNeil’s legacy' Premier Stephen McNeil’s legacy
Premier Stephen McNeil’s legacy – Aug 7, 2020

All of the new ministers said they were notified by the premier about their new role in cabinet over the Thanksgiving weekend.

It will likely be the last cabinet shuffle for McNeil as he prepares to step down as premier once the next leader of the provincial Liberal party is chosen.

Former lands and forestry minister Iain Rankin, former labour minister Labi Kousoulis and former health minister Randy Delorey are set to compete in the race to succeed McNeil and become the 29th premier of Nova Scotia.

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A new party leader will be chosen on Feb. 6.