Premier MacLellan Shuffles Cabinet
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.
ngr Dec. 11, 1998 1:46 p.m.