There were a lot of familiar faces but unfamiliar titles yesterday as Rodney MacDonald’s long-rumoured cabinet shuffle finally happened.
All but three ministers either left cabinet or swapped with another member. Mark Parent will go to Agriculture from Environment just two days before the province’s long-awaited climate change plan was supposed to be released
Premier Rodney MacDonald said that would mean postponing the oft-delayed plan once again. He said it’ll take another week or so for the new environment minister, David Morse, to catch up on the file.
There was a three-way swap in top departments — Karen Casey will go from Education to Health, replacing Chris d’Entrement who goes to Community Services, while Judy Streatch goes to Education.
“As with any government, there comes a point in time where I, as premier, saw the opportunity to change,” said MacDonald.
“I also see the value in having members have knowledge of other departments sitting around the table. That adds greatly to the discussions that happen and the decisions.”
Jamie Muir dropped out of cabinet because he won’t be re-offering in the next election. That left room for one new minister, Pictou Centre MLA Pat Dunn, who takes over Health Promotion and Protection. Justice Minister Cecil Clarke, Finance Minister Michael Baker and Fisheries Minister Michael Baker will all keep their positions.
Baker said he plans to re-offer in the next election, despite his battle with cancer.
Opposition leaders were in attendance and expressed skepticism that the shuffle would bring out new ideas.
Liberal leader Stephen McNeil several times repeated a car analogy.
“This is an old car with a new paint job and it won’t take long for the rust spots to show up. All they did was move people around,” said McNeil.
NDP Leader Darrell Dexter congratulated the ministers, but said there wasn’t much substantive change.