There’s been a change up at the legislature and Yorkton’s MLA will see added duties as a result.
Last week Premier Brad Wall announced a major re-organization of cabinet and government ministries which he says is designed to better reflect the government’s growth agenda.
Among the changes announced, Yorkton MLA Greg Ottenbreit moves up from Deputy Whip and becomes Government Whip.
The Party Whip is charged with ensuring party discipline among members of the caucus. The whip is also responsible for assigning offices and scheduling speakers from his or her party for various bills, motions and other proceedings in the House.
He or she works to ensure that the number of MPs in the House or at committee meetings is adequate to win a vote if one is called.
“We want to ensure the economic growth in Saskatchewan continues and that our government is meeting both the challenges and the opportunities of a growing province,” Wall says.
The biggest change is the creation of a new Ministry of the Economy which brings together a number of economic functions of the government, including Enterprise Saskatchewan, Innovation Saskatchewan, Tourism Saskatchewan, employment, immigration, trade, energy and resources.
Bill Boyd becomes the new Minister of the Economy and Minister responsible for SaskPower. Boyd remains Minister responsible for the Global Transportation Hub.
Tim McMillan becomes Minister responsible for Energy and Resources, Tourism Saskatchewan and Trade within the Economy ministry. McMillan also becomes Minister responsible for SaskEnergy.
After four and a half years as Minister of Health, Don McMorris becomes the new Minister of Highways and Infrastructure and Minister responsible for SaskTel, Saskatchewan Transportation Corporation, Saskatchewan Gaming Corporation and Information Services Corporation. McMorris will also be the Minister responsible for SaskBuilds, a new government agency that will lead the planning, design, funding and implementation of significant infrastructure projects for the government and for government-funded third-party projects like schools and hospitals.
“We have made record investments in our highways system but this area remains a top priority for our government,” Wall adds. “Don McMorris has been one of the most effective and innovative Health Ministers in the country and I am asking him to bring that same commitment and innovation to improving Saskatchewan’s highways.”
Only two Ministers retain their current responsibilities in the new cabinet. Ken Krawetz remains Deputy Premier and Finance Minister, while June Draude continues as Minister of Social Services and Minister responsible for the Status of Women.
Dustin Duncan becomes the new Minister of Health while Randy Weekes enters cabinet for the first time as the new Minister responsible for Rural and Remote Health under the Health ministry.
Three other MLAs enter cabinet for the first time:
• Gord Wyant becomes Minister of Justice and Attorney General (which now includes corrections and policing);
• Russ Marchuk becomes Minister of Education; and Kevin Doherty becomes Minister of Parks, Culture and Sport and Minister responsible for the Provincial Capital Commission.
Three former ministers return to cabinet: Lyle Stewart becomes Minister of Agriculture and Minister responsible for Saskatchewan Crop Insurance Corporation; Christine Tell becomes Minister responsible for Corrections and Policing under the Justice ministry; and Nancy Heppner becomes Minister of Central Services, which will become a new agency to manage government operations, replacing the Ministry of Government Services. Heppner will also be Minister responsible for the Public Service Commission, Minister responsible for Information Technology Office and Minister responsible for the Lean Initiative.
Other ministers assigned new responsibilities include: Ken Cheveldayoff becomes Minister of Environment and Minister responsible for SaskWater; Don Morgan continues as Minister of Labour Relations and Workplace Safety and becomes Minister of Advanced Education; Donna Harpauer becomes Minister of Crown Investments and Minister responsible for Saskatchewan Government Insurance and the Saskatchewan Liquor and Gaming Authority; and Jim Reiter becomes Minister of Government Relations and Minister responsible for First Nations, Metis and Northern Affairs.
The number of ministers remains at 18, including the Premier. The size of cabinet has not changed since the current government took office in 2007.
Jeremy Harrison will continue to serve as Government House Leader outside of cabinet while Justice Minister Gord Wyant will continue to serve as Deputy House Leader. Greg Ottenbreit becomes Government Whip while Gene Makowsky becomes Deputy Whip. Wayne Elhard will continue to serve as Provincial Secretary. Rob Norris has been named Legislative Secretary to the Premier for First Nations Engagement. Scott Moe becomes Deputy Chair of Public Accounts – the legislative committee that reviews all government spending. Corey Tochor becomes the Deputy Chair of Committees in the Legislative Assembly.