Kenney shuffles cabinet, gives Schweitzer new title and focus on economic recovery

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The new justice minister will be the only other lawyer in cabinet, Kaycee Madu, who leaves the Ministry of Municipal Affairs. He is the first Black Canadian justice minister.

Grande Prairie MLA Tracy Allard has been brought in from the backbenches to take over at Municipal Affairs. 

Kenney said the changes will allow for a renewed focus on jobs and the economy.

The government is expected to release a fiscal update on Thursday laying out Alberta’s financial position amid the pandemic and collapsing resource prices. Kenney has previously warned of a “fiscal reckoning.” 

Health Minister Tyler Shandro will be keeping his portfolio. Shandro has been in a protracted fight with the province’s doctors since before the pandemic hit over his decision to rip up the government’s contract with Alberta doctors. 

The Alberta Medical Association has filed a lawsuit accusing the government of violating doctors’ charter rights by passing legislation that gives political leaders the power to unilaterally end their deal. 

In July, 98 per cent of the Alberta doctors – or 8,740 people – who voted said they no longer have confidence in Shandro as a minister. The NDP Opposition has also called for him to be fired.

Kenney reiterated Tuesday that Shandro has his support.

“Every minister of health takes on a tough challenge given that it is nearly half of the provincial government’s budget and Tyler has done what he has to do to stop the out-of-control increase in physician compensation costs,” he said.

Education Minister Adriana LaGrange will also stay in her job despite facing significant pushback from concerned teachers and parents over her plan to reopen schools in September after shutting them down in March due to the pandemic.  

The government has been accused by the Opposition and teachers of not providing enough money to implement the reopening plans and criticized for not putting a cap on class sizes.

More to come

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