News release

Ron Russell named Deputy Premier, Michael Baker Gains Duties

PREMIER'S OFFICE--Ron Russell named Deputy Premier, Michael Baker Gains Duties


Premier John Hamm announced a number of changes to cabinet today, naming Ron Russell deputy premier and giving new duties to Justice Minister Michael Baker.

"This is a fair re-balancing of cabinet duties that addresses the concerns I had with the workload of some ministers," said the premier. "Nova Scotia taxpayers continue to enjoy the benefits of the smallest cabinet in 30 years, with flexibility remaining for future additions to cabinet should the need arise."

Mr. Russell, a three-time former speaker and long-time cabinet minister, already serves as acting premier when Premier Hamm is out of province. The post of deputy premier has been vacant since 1999.

"Ron Russell provides government with skill, depth and counsel that is without parallel," said the premier. "I am delighted he has accepted the position as deputy premier."

Justice Minister Michael Baker becomes the new chair of Treasury and Policy Board and minister responsible for the Public Service Commission.

"The Minister of Justice has brought strong management skills to government during his two years in cabinet," said the premier. "He provides a very broad outlook which will be useful as chair of Treasury and Policy Board and minister for the Public Service Commission."

The premier added that the minister having a legal background for the portfolios of Treasury and Policy Board and the Public Service Commission is important in light of their expanded mandates. The Government Restructuring (2001) Act passed in the spring -- known as Bill 20 -- strengthens the legal and financial powers of both agencies, particularly in regards to spending by third parties, such as school boards and district health authorities.

FOR BROADCAST USE:

Premier John Hamm announced a number of cabinet changes today.

The premier named Ron Russell deputy premier and gave Justice Minister Michael Baker two new portfolios.

The premier says the changes re-balanced the workload of ministers, while keeping the smallest cabinet in 30 years. He notes there's flexibility for future additions to cabinet should the need arise.

Mr. Russell -- a three-time former speaker and longtime cabinet minister -- is assuming the post of deputy premier, which has been vacant since 1999.

Mr. Baker gains new duties as chair of Treasury and Policy Board and minister for the Public Service Commission.

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Contact:

Robert Batherson
Premier's Office 902-424-6601 Cell: 902-478-1685 E-mail:
jrh            December 18, 2001        12:07 P.M.