As race to replace Kenney heats up, Alberta premier shuffles cabinet Tuesday

The Alberta Legislature on Aug. 26, 2020. Eric Beck/Global News

With a number of Alberta cabinet ministers recently stepping down from their posts to run in the UCP leadership race, Premier Jason Kenney announced a cabinet shuffle on Tuesday.

“As Alberta continues to experience strong economic growth and job creation, our focus is on providing stable and steady government that will allow this growth to continue,” the premier said in a news release.

“I’m confident that these changes to cabinet and the new members at the table will contribute to even stronger growth and prosperity in the future.”

Longtime environment and parks minister Jason Nixon will be leaving that post to become the full-time finance minister and president of the treasury board. Nixon had already been handling the finance portfolio in the interim since June 2 after his predecessor, Travis Toews, announced he was stepping down to join the race to become the new UCP leader.

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READ MORE: Jason Nixon steps in as Alberta’s acting minister of finance

Whitney Issik, the associate minister of status of women, will become the new environment and parks minister. Fort Saskatchewan-Vegreville MLA Jackie Armstrong-Homeniuk will become the new associate minister of status of women.

Calgary-South East MLA Matt Jones becomes the new minister of children’s services.

READ MORE: Calgary MLA Rebecca Schulz enters UCP leadership race

Prasad Panda will leave his position as minister of infrastructure to become transportation minister, while Calgary-Currie MLA Nicholas Milliken becomes infrastructure minister.

Leduc-Beaumont MLA and deputy government whip Brad Rutherford becomes chief government whip without portfolio.

In a series of non-ministerial changes, MLAs Tracy Allard and Jackie Lovely have been appointed to the treasury board, Justice Minister Tyler Shandro has been appointed to the chair of the community and families cabinet committee and Education Minister Adriana LaGrange has been appointed to the priorities implementation cabinet committee.

UCP members began to enter the party’s leadership race when Kenney triggered it by announcing he planned to step away from the job.

Kenney announced his intention to step down last month after receiving 51.4 per cent support in his leadership review vote. While it was enough under party rules to remain in his position, Kenney said the number did not amount to adequate support to continue on as party leader.

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The UCP caucus later decided that Kenney would stay on as leader until a replacement is chosen.

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