November 04, 2003
Focusing more effectively on public priorities and modernizing government for the future are the goals of cabinet changes that include new emphasis on water stewardship and healthy living, Premier Gary Doer announced today.
Doer said the main task of the new cabinet will be to build upon the successes of the past four years and meet the challenges of the future, particularly in the priority areas of health, education, energy, opportunities for youth and affordable taxation. Rural representation at cabinet will be further enhanced with the appointments of Stan Struthers (Dauphin-Roblin) and Peter Bjornson (Gimli), he added.
"We promised Manitobans that we would continue to build upon the work and progress of our first term in government," the premier said. "This team of talented, bright, hard-working women and men will lead us into the future as we continue to work on the priorities of Manitobans and deliver on our commitments."
Steve Ashton becomes the first minister of the new Department of Water Stewardship, responsible for all water management, economic development and clean water initiatives. The department will also lead important initiatives currently underway including the Lake Winnipeg Action Strategy, expansion of the Red River Floodway and efforts to stop the construction of an outlet at Devils Lake.
"Water is Manitoba's most important natural resource and we are fortunate to have it in abundance," Doer said. "Creating a prominent, new department will help ensure that our water resources are managed in a co-ordinated way that promotes sustainable economic development while protecting these vital resources for future generations."
In another significant move, Jim Rondeau will become the first minister of healthy living. Rondeau will work within the existing Department of Health. The healthy living minister will focus on prevention and wellness initiatives, and will also be responsible for seniors and Healthy Child Manitoba.
"There is more to be done to encourage Manitobans to be active and contribute to their long-term health and well-being," Doer said. "When we live healthier, we benefit from a better quality of life and rely less on our health care system. Government has a role in encouraging this shift towards healthier lifestyles."
Trade will now be consolidated into one department, intergovernmental affairs. Previously, trade functions were spread across several departments. The change will streamline government’s trade operations and create an effective "one-stop shop" for those doing business with Manitoba, Doer said.
A new rural initiatives portfolio will be added to agriculture and food to further concentrate and co-ordinate government efforts on diversification and new economic opportunities for rural Manitoba. Wowchuk will continue as minister and deputy premier.
Citizenship will be added to the education and youth department, with Bjornson as minister. The goal of the move is to increase youth participation in democracy by placing a greater emphasis on Canadian history.
Doer also announced the establishment of an Aboriginal Issues Committee of Cabinet. Chaired by the premier, the committee will build on new partnerships that have been struck with Aboriginal communities in priority areas such as justice, hydroelectric development, education and training, and services for children.
The premier thanked Drew Caldwell (MLA for Brandon East) for his service as family services and housing minister. Caldwell had asked to be relieved of his cabinet duties due to an ongoing health challenge.
The cabinet in order of precedence is (with new ministers and portfolios in bold):
Mackintosh remains government house leader.
- 30 -
COMPARISON OF PROVINCIAL CABINETS
British Columbia 28
New Brunswick 18
Saskatchewan ** 16
Nova Scotia 15
Prince Edward Island 10
* This is the number of the present cabinet. The new cabinet is expected to be sworn in during the first week of November.
** There is an election in Saskatchewan on Nov. 5.