View From the Legislature

Taking on a New Role

  • Kelvin Goertzen, Author
  • Member of the Legislative Assembly, Steinbach

Last Wednesday, just prior to the provincial Cabinet shuffle, I was asked what job I was hoping to get following the shuffle. The answer to me was easy, I already have the job I most value, being the MLA for the Steinbach Constituency. Hardly a day goes by that my family and I are not reminded of how fortunate we are to represent in the Manitoba Legislature a riding that is filled with generous and encouraging people.

In addition to being the MLA for Steinbach however, I was asked to take on another responsibility last week by Premier Brian Pallister. Last week I assumed the role of Minister of Education and Training for the province as well as the new Government House Leader.

For me these new roles come with mixed emotions. While it is exciting to take on new challenges, it is also difficult to leave an area that I have invested so much time and energy into. For almost two and a half years I have had the great honour of serving as the Minister of Health, Seniors and Active Living. As the largest department in government, it was both an incredible challenge and a great opportunity to be the Minister of an area that is so important to every Manitoban. Over the past more than two years we have begun to transform the healthcare system based on expert advice and evidence. We also lowered ambulance fees and increased the number of paramedics significantly in the province.

The challenges in healthcare are being faced in every province in Canada, and that was again emphasized in June as I chaired the meeting of national health ministers. I know that incoming Minister of Health Cameron Friesen is an excellent choice to take on these ongoing challenges. Most importantly, I am honoured to have worked with so many incredible people within the healthcare system who each and every day give their best to improve lives and save lives.

As I begin to learn a new role as Minister of Education and Training I am excited for the challenge. Education, both in the K-12 system and at the post-secondary level has played an important part in my life. It has given me opportunities to advance in my career and to gain a better understanding and appreciation for many things. It will be a special privilege to be able to work with educators and parents to better our education system and to ensure it is sustainable.

The department also has provincial responsibility for immigration and for training in Manitoba as we help to prepare our workforce for future challenges. This will also be a new and exciting area for me to learn about and help influence.

As I take on these new tasks I do so with a clear understanding that it is only possible because of the support of the local residents in the Steinbach constituency. I appreciate your kind words of encouragement.