Interest groups, opposition parties weigh in on new cabinet 2:45pm
Reaction to Premier Alison Redford's appointments to cabinet Wednesday were, for the most part, mixed.
At Edmonton City Hall, reaction was largely for Redford's appointees considered the "big three" for cities -- Doug Griffiths in Municipal Affairs, Ray Danyluk in Transportation, and Jeff Johnson in Infrastructure.
"Premier Redford seemed to be very favorable to cities and our challenges," says Coun. Dake Loken.
However, there was some concern about Ron Liepert's appointment to the finance portfolio, and whether the province would commit to making $100 million available to cover the shortfall for a new arena in downtown Edmonton. The city did get some backing from newly-appointed Education Minister Thomas Lukaszuk, who says he is commited to getting the city the money. Deputy Premier Doug Horner was non-committal.
On the appointment of Fred Horne as Health Minister, Friends of Medicare's says he has some not so fond memories of his previous work.
"We know him quite well," says David Eggen with Frends. "He was behind the scenes with the Alberta Health Act, he was working on health policy in the legislature for quite a number of years, so he's certainly not a new face to the health file."
Eggen believes Horne will succeed if he and Redford stay on the same page.
"Look to make a clean break from this government's long flirtation with private health care and give something Albertans really want," he says.
Guy Smith, the president of the Alberta Union of Provincial Employees (AUPE), says he's already had dealings with the new Human Services Minister, David Hancock.
"He's my own MLA, so I have had a discussion with him on an on-going basis," says Smith."He is someone who is very approachable, and I think, wants to listen to the many issues we bring forward, because I think most cabinet ministers recognize that when AUPE brings issues forward, it's coming from the front lines, from the people who work every day in the system."
Smith says the AUPE is looking forward to working with the new cabinet.
"I'm hoping that he's looking for input from groups such as AUPE when he's building his next budget, because again, we do have a unique perspective on services to the people of Alberta."
Naturally, opposition parties are less than enthused about the appointments.
"We know, looking at this cabinet, and the early mis-steps of Ms. Redford, that we're not going to get change, with the kind of approach that she's taking, and the kind of approach we've seen the PCs taking over the last seven or eight years," says Wildrose leader Danielle Smith. "The only way we're going to get real change is by changing the government."
Smith laughs at the notion that the cabinet has actually downsized.
"Even her predecessors had managed to shrink the size of cabinet down," she points out. "When (Ed) Stelmach became premier, he had an 18-person cabinet. When (Ralph) Klein became premier, he had a 17-person cabinet. With 21 people, it's pretty bloated, and I think it's because she had a lot of promises to keep." (CHQR, mb, sj, bp