Premier MacLellan Shuffles Cabinet

Premier's Office

December 11, 1998 1:46 PM

Premier Russell MacLellan has shuffled his cabinet, bringing two
new members to the Executive Council, reducing the heavy workload
of others, and providing new challenges to a number of ministers.

"Adding new blood is good for cabinet, and it also allows us to
reduce the workload of a couple of ministers who have been
performing above and beyond any reasonable call of duty," the
premier said.

Entering cabinet for the first time are Michel Samson, who
represents Richmond in the House of Assembly, and
Guysborough-Port Hawkesbury MLA Ray White. Mr. Samson is the new
Minister of the Environment and Minister responsible for the
Youth Secretariat. Mr. White, a former mayor of Canso, is the new
Minister of Housing and Municipal Affairs.

Jim Smith, member for Dartmouth East, who had been Minister of
Health, Minister of Justice and Attorney General, is giving up
the Justice and Attorney General posts. He remains Health
Minister and adds responsibility as chairman of the government's
Priorities and Planning Committee.

Robbie Harrison, member for Kings South, leaves Education and
Culture where he has served as minister since 1996. Mr. Harrison
is the new Attorney General and Minister of Justice. He was also
named Minister of Business and Consumer Services, and he retains
responsibility for the Technology and Science Secretariat and the
Sport and Recreation Commission.

Finance Minister Don Downe, member for Lunenburg West, retains
that portfolio, as well as Aboriginal Affairs. He relinquishes
Environment to Mr. Samson.

"Jim Smith and Don Downe have carried exceptionally heavy loads
for a year and a half, and have performed admirably. Robbie
Harrison has been an excellent education minister but is well
into his third year in the portfolio and that is a long time for
any minister to serve in one department," the premier said.

Premier MacLellan is also giving up some responsibility himself,
stepping down as Minister responsible for the Petroleum
Directorate and handing the job to Manning MacDonald, Minister of
Economic Development and Tourism and member for Cape Breton
South.

"Now that offshore gas is a reality, it makes good economic sense
to bring that major development into the larger economic
development tent, with a common minister," the premier said,
noting that the Petroleum Directorate would remain independent
and autonomous from Economic Development and Tourism.

Wayne Gaudet, member for Clare, moves to Education from Housing
and Municipal Affairs, and will retain responsibility for Acadian
Affairs. Mr. Gaudet is a teacher and was principal of Clare
District Junior High School before his election to the
legislature in 1993. Mr. Gaudet is also relinquishing the Human
Resources portfolio.

Community Services Minister Francene Cosman, member for
Bedford-Fall River, retains that portfolio and adds Human
Resources. Ms. Cosman is also Minister responsible for the
Advisory Council on the Status of Women.

Fisheries and Aquaculture Minister Keith Colwell, member for
Eastern Shore, keeps that portfolio and has added responsibility
as Minister responsible for the Alcohol and Gaming Control
Commission. He is replaced at Business and Consumer Services by
Mr. Harrison.

Natural Resources Minister Kennie MacAskill, member for Victoria,
retains that job and gives up the alcohol and gaming control
responsibility.

Ministers unaffected by today's changes are: Agriculture and
Marketing Minister Ed Lorraine (Colchester North); Labour
Minister Russell MacKinnon (Cape Breton West), and Transportation
and Public Works Minister Clifford Huskilson (Shelburne).

The new Minister of Housing and Municipal Affairs, Ray White, was
first elected to the legislature in 1993. Prior to entering
provincial politics, Mr. White served five terms as mayor of
Canso, where he gained national prominence in the fight to save
his town following the announced closure of the fish plant.

The new Minister of the Environment, Michel Samson, was first
elected in March 1998. Then 25 years old, he became the youngest
member of the Nova Scotia House of Assembly this century. He was
admitted to the Nova Scotia bar last month shortly after marking
his 26th birthday.

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Contact: Margaret Murphy
         Premier's Office
         902-424-4880
         Cell: 902-499-8569
         E-mail: murphy@gov.ns.ca

ngr                 Dec. 11, 1998                1:46 p.m.