WINNIPEG – Brian Pallister has been sworn in as Manitoba premier.
The Progressive Conservative leader took the oath in front of the 12 ministers who will make up his cabinet — eight men and four women.
“Our team’s plan for a better Manitoba with lower taxes, better services and a stronger economy was overwhelmingly endorsed by Manitobans,” Pallister said in a release issued as he was being sworn in Tuesday.
“We know the job ahead of us will not be easy, but this is the right team to get Manitoba back on track.”
Cameron Friesen, member of the legislature for Morden-Winkler, has been appointed finance minister. A fiscal update presented in March revealed the provincial deficit last year had more than doubled to $773 million and Pallister has pledged to roll back the previous NDP government’s one percentage point provincial sales tax increase.
Other experienced Tory members were rewarded with high-profile cabinet posts.
Former justice critic Kelvin Goertzen is the health minister, while Heather Stefanson is justice minister and deputy premier. Ian Wishart is the new minister of education.
Ron Schuler is the minister of Crown services, Ralph Eichler takes on the agriculture portfolio, Cliff Cullen becomes minister of growth, enterprise and trade and Blaine Pedersen has been appointed minister of infrastructure.
Former Winnipeg city councillor Scott Fielding has been named minister of families.
Manitoba has more than 10,000 kids in the care of Child and Family Services. The vast majority are indigenous. The province has one of the highest apprehension rates in Canada and seizes an average of one newborn baby a day. The cost of the department has ballooned to almost $500 million and routinely is criticized for apprehending too many children or repeatedly returning others to abusive guardians.
Pallister and the Progressive Conservatives took 40 of the legislature’s 57 seats in the election April 19.
Manitoba premiers have traditionally tried to have one minister from Brandon — the province’s second-largest city. But neither Reg Helwer, first elected in 2011, nor newcomer Len Isleifson, received a post.
Steven Fletcher, a former member of Parliament for the federal Conservatives, was also left out.
Here is a look at who got which cabinet positions:
Heather Stefanson — Minister of justice and attorney general, deputy premier
Cameron Friesen — Minister of finance
Kelvin Goertzen — Minister of health, seniors and active living
Ian Wishart — Minister of education and training
Scott Fielding — Minister of families
Blaine Pedersen — Minister of infrastructure
Eileen Clarke — Minister of Indigenous and municipal relations
Cathy Cox — Minister of sustainable development
Cliff Cullen — Minister of growth, enterprise and trade
Ralph Eichler — Minister of agriculture
Rochelle Squires — Minister of sport, culture and heritage, francophone affairs and status of women
Ron Schuler — Minister of Crown services