MLA Duncan promoted

Cabinet shuffle

Weyburn-Big Muddy MLA Dustin Duncan was promoted in cabinet ranks, as Premier Brad Wall announced what is likely the last major cabinet shuffle before the next provincial election is held in 2011.Duncan was moved from Tourism, Parks, Culture and Sport to take on the portfolio as Minister of the Environment, as well as the minister responsible for SaskEnergy and SaskWater.With the exit of former Finance minister Rod Gantefoer from political life, Deputy Premier Ken Krawetz was named the new Finance minister, while the minister Duncan was replacing, Nancy Heppner, was removed from cabinet.The shuffle drew criticism from the opposition NDP, who suggested some of the moves show the incompetence of the Wall government, and will only cause problems as some inexperienced MLAs were brought up from the backbenches.For the premiers part, he defended the moves as this means now 24 of the 37 government MLAs will now have cabinet experience, and many of the other remaining MLAs have contributed in significant roles as well.Im certainly grateful the premier has asked me to continue serving in a different role. I really enjoyed being minister of Tourism, Parks, Culture and Sport, but at the same time Im looking forward to taking on some new challenges at Environment, said Duncan in an interview Friday.I know there are a number of priorities the premier has asked me to look at in Environment. Ill be continuing the work begun by my colleague, Nancy Heppner, said Duncan, noting among his priorities will be looking at developing a new provincial recycling program, and managing the level of greenhouse gas emissions to make sure we do that in a balanced way, so as not to impede economic growth.On the latter issue, he notes Saskatchewan has set a goal of reducing their greenhouse gas emissions by 20 per cent by the year 2020, so he will be monitoring what progress is being made towards that goal.One of the bones of contention for the NDP was the proposed sale of Crown grazing land, some of which is environmentally-sensitive; indeed, NDP leader Dwain Lingenfelter said the removal of Heppner was a good thing, particularly if this initiative dies as a result.Duncan indicated that the legislation has been passed, so he will be looking implementing it, including meeting with stakeholders from both sides of the issue.This includes those who are looking to purchase some of this land, ranching families whove been good stewards of the land for generations, and also the different organizations who had concerns with the legislation, said Duncan, adding there is a misconception that all the land is going to be sold when only a portion of it might be sold.He noted there is a standard of assessment that will be used to identify land that needs protection, so that protection will continue to apply to environmentally-sensitive land.Ive got a lot of work ahead of me just to come up to speed, said Duncan, noting this applies to the two Crowns he is now responsible for, including SaskEnergy and SaskWater.Lingenfelter said one of the most disappointing aspects of this cabinet shuffle was retaining Don McMorris as the Health minister with the major blunders committed under his watch, such as secure documents getting into the public, and the cancellation of the kidney transplant program.Well likely see a continuation of incompetence in that portfolio, said Lingenfelter, adding they are also worried about having Krawetz taking over as Finance minister. He said Gantefoer had had problems with meddling in the budget process by the premiers office, and now this problem will be even worse with the deputy premier now taking on that portfolio.A number of ministers are taking on new responsibilities, including Ken Cheveldayoff, who becomes minister of First Nations and Metis Relations, and the minister responsible for Northern Affairs and for the Saskatchewan Gaming Corporation; Bill Hutchinson takes over Duncans former portfolio at Tourism, Parks, Culture and Sport, and is also the minister responsible for the Provincial Capital Commission; Jeremy Harrison is now minister of Enterprise and the minister responsible for Trade; Donna Harpauer becomes the new minister of Education as well as Provincial Secretary; and June Draude replaces Harpauer as minister of Social Services, and also is the minister responsible for the Status of Women, and for the Public Service Commission.Three ministers retained their portfolios and had some new responsibilities added: Justice minister Don Morgan is now also minister of Labour Relations and Workplace Safety, and is the minister responsible for the Workmens Compensation Board and the Sask. Liquor and Gaming Authority; Advanced Education minister Rob Norris is also the minister responsible for SaskPower and for Innovation; and Energy and Resources minister Bill Boyd is the minister responsible for SaskTel.Four ministers retained their portfolios, including Health minister Don McMorris; Agriculture minister Bob Bjornerud; Corrections, Public Safety and Policing minister Yogi Huyghebaert; and Highways and Infrastructure minister Jim Reiter.After being out of cabinet, Darryl Hickie returns to cabinet as minister of Municipal Affairs, and two rookies enter cabinet, Tim McMillan as minister responsible for Crown Investments Corporation, SGI and Information Services Corporation and Information Technology Office; and Laura Ross as minister of Government Services.Lingenfelter was critical of having two rookies come off the backbenches into cabinet, commenting, I dont think it strengthens the cabinet, because youre pulling out a weaker tier of people from the backbench than you wouldve liked to. It may be an election cabinet, but its not a very strong cabinet.Asked for his assessment of the new cabinet, Duncan replied, I think its a strong cabinet. I think these were difficult decisions for the premier to make, but I think he did a pretty good job. It shows hes very serious as in his last couple of shuffles hes been building strength in the ranks by giving other backbench MLAs the opportunity to serve in cabinet.He added that he feels there is a good mix of experience with younger less-experienced members as they head into the next election, and said he will have no problem going to the people with the team now in place.Weyburn-Big Muddy MLA Dustin Duncan was promoted in cabinet ranks, as Premier Brad Wall announced what is likely the last major cabinet shuffle before the next provincial election is held in 2011.Duncan was moved from Tourism, Parks, Culture and Sport to take on the portfolio as Minister of the Environment, as well as the minister responsible for SaskEnergy and SaskWater.With the exit of former Finance minister Rod Gantefoer from political life, Deputy Premier Ken Krawetz was named the new Finance minister, while the minister Duncan was replacing, Nancy Heppner, was removed from cabinet.The shuffle drew criticism from the opposition NDP, who suggested some of the moves show the incompetence of the Wall government, and will only cause problems as some inexperienced MLAs were brought up from the backbenches.For the premiers part, he defended the moves as this means now 24 of the 37 government MLAs will now have cabinet experience, and many of the other remaining MLAs have contributed in significant roles as well.Im certainly grateful the premier has asked me to continue serving in a different role. I really enjoyed being minister of Tourism, Parks, Culture and Sport, but at the same time Im looking forward to taking on some new challenges at Environment, said Duncan in an interview Friday.I know there are a number of priorities the premier has asked me to look at in Environment. Ill be continuing the work begun by my colleague, Nancy Heppner, said Duncan, noting among his priorities will be looking at developing a new provincial recycling program, and managing the level of greenhouse gas emissions to make sure we do that in a balanced way, so as not to impede economic growth.On the latter issue, he notes Saskatchewan has set a goal of reducing their greenhouse gas emissions by 20 per cent by the year 2020, so he will be monitoring what progress is being made towards that goal.One of the bones of contention for the NDP was the proposed sale of Crown grazing land, some of which is environmentally-sensitive; indeed, NDP leader Dwain Lingenfelter said the removal of Heppner was a good thing, particularly if this initiative dies as a result.Duncan indicated that the legislation has been passed, so he will be looking implementing it, including meeting with stakeholders from both sides of the issue.This includes those who are looking to purchase some of this land, ranching families whove been good stewards of the land for generations, and also the different organizations who had concerns with the legislation, said Duncan, adding there is a misconception that all the land is going to be sold when only a portion of it might be sold.He noted there is a standard of assessment that will be used to identify land that needs protection, so that protection will continue to apply to environmentally-sensitive land.Ive got a lot of work ahead of me just to come up to speed, said Duncan, noting this applies to the two Crowns he is now responsible for, including SaskEnergy and SaskWater.Lingenfelter said one of the most disappointing aspects of this cabinet shuffle was retaining Don McMorris as the Health minister with the major blunders committed under his watch, such as secure documents getting into the public, and the cancellation of the kidney transplant program.Well likely see a continuation of incompetence in that portfolio, said Lingenfelter, adding they are also worried about having Krawetz taking over as Finance minister. He said Gantefoer had had problems with meddling in the budget process by the premiers office, and now this problem will be even worse with the deputy premier now taking on that portfolio.A number of ministers are taking on new responsibilities, including Ken Cheveldayoff, who becomes minister of First Nations and Metis Relations, and the minister responsible for Northern Affairs and for the Saskatchewan Gaming Corporation; Bill Hutchinson takes over Duncans former portfolio at Tourism, Parks, Culture and Sport, and is also the minister responsible for the Provincial Capital Commission; Jeremy Harrison is now minister of Enterprise and the minister responsible for Trade; Donna Harpauer becomes the new minister of Education as well as Provincial Secretary; and June Draude replaces Harpauer as minister of Social Services, and also is the minister responsible for the Status of Women, and for the Public Service Commission.Three ministers retained their portfolios and had some new responsibilities added: Justice minister Don Morgan is now also minister of Labour Relations and Workplace Safety, and is the minister responsible for the Workmens Compensation Board and the Sask. Liquor and Gaming Authority; Advanced Education minister Rob Norris is also the minister responsible for SaskPower and for Innovation; and Energy and Resources minister Bill Boyd is the minister responsible for SaskTel.Four ministers retained their portfolios, including Health minister Don McMorris; Agriculture minister Bob Bjornerud; Corrections, Public Safety and Policing minister Yogi Huyghebaert; and Highways and Infrastructure minister Jim Reiter.After being out of cabinet, Darryl Hickie returns to cabinet as minister of Municipal Affairs, and two rookies enter cabinet, Tim McMillan as minister responsible for Crown Investments Corporation, SGI and Information Services Corporation and Information Technology Office; and Laura Ross as minister of Government Services.Lingenfelter was critical of having two rookies come off the backbenches into cabinet, commenting, I dont think it strengthens the cabinet, because youre pulling out a weaker tier of people from the backbench than you wouldve liked to. It may be an election cabinet, but its not a very strong cabinet.Asked for his assessment of the new cabinet, Duncan replied, I think its a strong cabinet. I think these were difficult decisions for the premier to make, but I think he did a pretty good job. It shows hes very serious as in his last couple of shuffles hes been building strength in the ranks by giving other backbench MLAs the opportunity to serve in cabinet.He added that he feels there is a good mix of experience with younger less-experienced members as they head into the next election, and said he will have no problem going to the people with the team now in place.

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