Premier Brian Pallister announced changes to the provincial cabinet in preparation for the fall legislative session Aug 17.
“This fine-tuning of our cabinet team will allow our government to focus more effectively on the priorities of Manitobans,” said Pallister in a statement. “I am very satisfied with the integrity and commitment of our cabinet and caucus, and the progress we have made to fix our finances, repair our services and rebuild our economy. We are meeting the challenges we were elected to tackle. This is the right team for the next phase of our mandate.”
In addition, the premier announced a restructuring to create two new departments within government: the Indigenous and Northern Relations and Municipal Relations. These were created from the existing Indigenous and Municipal Relations department.
“We are dedicating full ministers to these portfolios because of the enormous importance of each to ensuring our province’s full prosperity and quality of life wherever Manitobans live,” said Pallister.
Jeff Wharton, the MLA for Gimli, will take one of these new cabinet roles as the new Minister of Municipal Relations.
“I am delighted to take on this new role and be part of a strong Cabinet and caucus team. I am grateful to the premier for placing his confidence in me. As a former municipal councillor, I am looking forward to working with my municipal colleagues to make Manitoba the most improved province in Canada. They are important partners in fixing our finances, repairing our services, and rebuilding our economy. A dedicated department focused on municipal relations shows the importance we attach to working with our municipal partners and fostering sustainable, safe, healthy communities for Manitobans to live and work,” Wharton said.
Ron Schuler, the MLA for St. Paul, will also be filling a new position, moving from his position as Minister of Crown Services to Minister of Infrastructure.
“I’m very excited. It’s a new challenge, a new opportunity and infrastructure is very important to our government and to Manitobans. We’re spending a lot of money a year almost a billion dollars a year on infrastructure. We have a lot of needs for repair and new build and I’m very excited about this opportunity,” Schuler said.
Ralph Eichler, the MLA for Lakeside will remain in his position as Minister of Agriculture, as will Derek Johnston, the MLA for Interlake, who maintains the position of legislative assistant of Infrastructure.