Premier Heather Stefanson welcomed three new members and a well-respected former member into the provincial cabinet today and unveiled new and reframed portfolios to address the ongoing challenges posed by COVID-19, plan for economic growth and recovery, and better focus on the priorities of all Manitobans.
“Manitobans want and expect a government that acts with integrity and compassion, and that puts their needs first. I am confident this team will focus on the priorities of Manitobans as we continue to fight back against COVID-19 and work together to build a healthier, stronger and more prosperous province for all,” said Stefanson. “We are committed to strengthening and realigning our health-care system to manage COVID-19 and to ensure Manitobans can access the care they need now and well into the future. We also recognize the need to enhance care for seniors and those experiencing mental health and additions challenges, and as such, I am proud that our government will have three dedicated and compassionate people providing health leadership where it is most needed.”
Scott Johnston (MLA for Assiniboia) comes into cabinet and will lead the new Department of Seniors and Long-term Care with a focused agenda to implement all recommendations of the Stevenson Review. Audrey Gordon (MLA for Southdale) will lead the reframed health portfolio as minister of health with a mandate to strengthen resources to help manage COVID-19 while working with the Surgical and Diagnostic Task Force to clear the backlogs and improve the quality of life for all Manitobans. Sarah Guillemard (MLA for Fort Richmond) takes on the new role as minister of mental health and community wellness and is tasked with working collaboratively with community organizations to better address and treat the addictions and mental health challenges that have been exacerbated by the pandemic.
The premier also welcomed Doyle Piwniuk (MLA for Turtle Mountain) as minister of transportation and infrastructure, and Andrew Smith (MLA for Lagimodiere) as minister of sport, culture and heritage, and minister responsible for Travel Manitoba and the Manitoba Centennial Centre Corporation (MCCC). Eileen Clarke (MLA for Agassiz) returns to cabinet as minister of municipal relations, a position she held previously and in which she was well respected among her colleagues across all levels of government, added Stefanson.
The premier noted the most pressing issues facing Manitoba and Manitobans will be viewed through a whole-of-government approach including the COVID-19 response and recovery, climate change and mitigation, and reconciliation. Ministers will engage Manitobans in conversation and consultation to ensure their perspectives, concerns and ideas are heard and acted on.
Other changes to the Manitoba Executive Council include:
- Cliff Cullen (MLA for Spruce Woods) as deputy premier and minister of economic development, investment and trade;
- Kelvin Goertzen (MLA for Steinbach) as minister of justice and attorney general, and minister responsible for Manitoba Public Insurance (MPI) and government house leader;
- Cameron Friesen (MLA for Morden-Winkler) as minister of finance and minister responsible for Manitoba Hydro;
- Scott Fielding (MLA for Kirkfield Park) as minister of natural resources and northern development, and minister responsible for the Manitoba Liquor and Lotteries Corporation (MBLL);
- Jeff Wharton (MLA for Red River North) as minister of environment, climate and parks, and minister responsible for Efficiency Manitoba;
- Reg Helwer (MLA for Brandon West) as minister of labour, consumer protection and government services, minister responsible for the Public Utilities Board (PUB) and minister responsible for the civil service;
- Wayne Ewasko (MLA for Lac du Bonnet) as minister of education and early childhood learning;
- Derek Johnson (MLA for Interlake-Gimli) as minister of agriculture; and
- Jon Reyes (MLA for Waverley) as minister of advanced education, skills and immigration.
The premier noted Rochelle Squires (MLA for Riel) will assume the roles of minister responsible for the status of women and minister responsible for accessibility while continuing as minister of families and minister responsible for francophone affairs.
Alan Lagimodiere (MLA for Selkirk) remains minister of Indigenous reconciliation and northern relations with a renewed focus to work collaboratively with Indigenous leadership and the federal government to pursue social and economic opportunities for Indigenous youth and families.
“We will continue to work with our public health leaders to ensure Manitoba has the appropriate response to COVID-19 and we will employ targeted measures to protect Manitobans and avoid further economic lockdowns,” said Stefanson. “But like all Manitobans, we are also thinking of the future. We do not just want to recover from COVID-19; we want to unlock Manitoba’s true economic potential. Our team is ready to partner with business, industry and innovators to bring investment to Manitoba and the talent that is needed for us all to succeed.”
The premier thanked former ministers Ralph Eichler and Cathy Cox for their outstanding service and dedication to the people of Manitoba in their various cabinet positions since 2016 and their continued work for their constituents and all Manitobans as government MLAs.