Alberta Premier Alison Redford is surrounded by the members of her new Cabinet, following the swearing-in ceremony for the Government of Alberta Cabinet, at Government House in Edmonton, Tuesday May 8, 2012.
Credits: DAVID BLOOM EDMONTON SUN QMI AGENCY
Redford said her party's April 23 majority mandate from Albertans called for change, and her new cabinet's blend of fresh and seasoned voices would help make that change.
Technically, the cabinet's smaller, with 17 ministries -- but seven new associate ministers will sit in on meetings where the areas of concern are on the agenda.
Redford said the new cabinet is like the new Tory caucus -- diverse with a mix of experience and new blood.
"We are a government ... that has been forged in a tough election," she said, citing her government's strong commitment to new policy and new direction.
"There's been, in my mind, a casual relationship between the work of the government and the work of the legislature," she said.
Helping bring policy to the floor of the legislature, Thomas Lukaszuk takes over the reins of deputy premier from Doug Horner. As the deputy premier of executive council and operations committee, he has no cabinet portfolio.
"The role of deputy premier was more stepping into the role of the premier when she was away from the province or away on personal time. The deputy premier will be actively carrying out the role of the office of the premier as a support to that premier," Lukaszuk said.
Lukaszuk will chair the operations policy committee. He said he will be Redford's right-hand in the workings of caucus, cabinet and committees. He will also reach out to the caucuses of other parties to make sure their input registers.
"Albertans have been very clear that they expect the chamber to be the place where policies will be debated ... the legislative chamber will assume its proper role, where policies are not only tabled but they're also argued, debated and finally passed," he said.
"I will be one very busy individual."
A rookie to the legislature but a seasoned politician, Calgary-West MLA Ken Hughes is the new minister of energy and one of a small handful of Calgary representatives on the new team.
That portfolio was held by Ted Morton, the failed 2011 leadership candidate who lost his seat to the Wildrose in the April 23 election.
Hughes may be new to the legislature, but as the head of Alberta Health Services, he's been involved in public policy and was early considered a top candidate for the post, Redford said.
"I know him very well -- in terms of industry leaders and industry, he's certainly well thought of," she said, adding energy is a sector she has "a particular interest in."
Horner's responsibilities were also increased. He's now in charge of a $43 billion budget as the province's new treasury minister.
Representing the new guard, Redford said, goes to Stephen Khan, the new MLA from St. Albert who will be minister of enterprise and advanced education.
A new emphasis on research and innovation and post-secondary institutions is exciting, she said.
While the word "water" comes out of Diana McQueen's portfolio, she is now in charge of environment and sustainable resources. She said she is ready for the merger of the two.
"They're big responsibilities -- there's many things that do overlap," she said. "I think it's a very good fit," McQueen said.
"We think we can have a very strong economy in this province and we can take care of the environment ... that's exactly what we've been doing."