The driving force behind the new Alberta government is young, diverse and ready to go to work, the United Conservative Party, Premier Jason Kenney said Tuesday at a ceremony to swearing in his first cabinet.
The cabinet includes 20 ministers and three associate ministers, one of whom will be dedicated to the task of reducing bureaucracy. Seven of the 23 are returning MLAs.
The largest contingent came from Calgary, with 13 members, including the prime minister. The cabinet has seven women, and as Kenney pointed out several times, four men called Jason. Edmonton's lonely MLA UCP has also been nominated for the Cabinet.
In a press release, Kenney called the new Alberta government one of Canada's youngest; the average age of the cabinet is 43 years. Its diversity, he said, is represented by the 13 different languages spoken by the ministers, as well as the Alberta prime minister responsible for multiculturalism.
"The new Alberta office includes farmers, teachers, merchants, small business owners, lawyers, corporate executives, musicians, oil and gas specialists, civil servants and a variety of other professional backgrounds," Kenney said in the statement.
"These ministers are in touch with the lives of the people they will be serving."
The new cabinet members are:
Attorney General and Justice: Doug Schweitzer, Calgary-Elbow. Schweitzer is a lawyer specializing in bankruptcy and restructuring.
Cheers: Tyler Shandro, Calgary-Acadia. Shandro is a lawyer who worked with municipalities, developers and landowners. He has worked with provincial, federal and municipal politicians in various roles since 1993.
Transport: Ric McIver, Calgary-Hays. McIver was previously a board member of the City of Calgary and was previously elected twice as MLA Conservative in 2012 and 2015 when he served as Alberta Minister for Transportation and Infrastructure.
Economic Development, Trade and Tourism: Tanya Fir, Calgary-Peigan. She has worked in human resources with oil and gas companies.
Education: Adriana LaGrange, Red Deer-North. Mother of seven, she was a school administrator, owned a trucking company, and ran a family farm.
Treasury Board, Finance: Travis Toews, Grande Prairie-Wapiti. Former accountant, he is co-owner of a family farm and an environmental company.
Environment and Parks: Jason Nixon, Rimbey-Rocky Mountain House-Sundre. He was first elected as Wildrose MLA in 2015. Prior to joining the policy, he spent more than 25 years working as a volunteer and working for The Mustard Seed nonprofit, and also operated a consulting firm.
Agriculture and Forestry: Devin Dreeshen, Innisfail-Sylvan Lake. Elected for the first time in a 2018 election, he owns a consulting business, advising agricultural stakeholders on trade issues.
Energy: Sonya Savage, Calgary-North West. She practiced law for 13 years before assuming the position in the pipeline industry for 12 years, including as senior director of policy and regulatory affairs for the Canadian Energy Pipeline Association.
Community and Social Services: Rajan Sawhney, Calgary-North East. The mother of four is a senior professional in the oil and gas industry who has worked in oilpatch for over 20 years.
Seniors and Housing: Josephine Pon, Calgary-Beddington. She is a financially experienced real estate broker who has worked in the banking industry for over 20 years. She also worked at Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation.
Pets allowed: Rebecca Shulz, Calgary-Shaw. She has a master's degree from John Hopkins University and previously worked with former Saskatchewan premier Brad Wall.
Indigenous Relations: Richard Wilson, Maskwacis-Wetaskiwin. He was county councilor in Wetaskiwin County No. 10 and trustee of the Wetaskiwin Regional Public Schools school council.
Advanced Education: Demetrios Nicolaides, Calgary-Bow. He was a university instructor and author and communications expert.
Culture, multiculturalism and women's status: Leela Aheer, Chestermere-Strathmore. The former Wildrose MLA, first elected in 2015, worked as a teacher and also owns or co-owns several small businesses.
Work and Immigration: Jason Copping, Calgary-Varsity. He worked as a management consultant and job mediator.
Local Issues: Kaycee Madu, Edmonton-Southwest. The only MCP of the Edmonton UCP, he is a lawyer with experience in the practice of lawyers and litigation. He has worked for Alberta Hospital, Legal Aid Alberta and the Government of Alberta.
The infrastructure: Prasad Panda, Calgary-Edgemont. Formerly elected in a 2015 election to the former Calgary-Foothills riding. A professional engineer by profession, Panda served as energy critic of the UCP.
Service Alberta: Nate Glubish, Strathcona-Sherwood Park. He worked with a Vancouver-based venture capital fund and, over the years, has been heavily involved in provincial politics with the Conservative and Wildrose parties.
Deputy Minister of Reduction of Bureaucracy: Grant Hunter, Taber-Warner He was first elected in 2015 and owns a company.
Associate Minister of Natural Gas: Dale Nally, Morinville-St. Albert He has experience in the private sector by managing business units and is a volunteer for smaller hockey.
Associate Minister of Mental Health and Addictions: Jason Luan, Calgary-Foothills. He worked as a social worker. He served as the 2012-15 MLA for Calgary-Hawkwood.
Other key commitments announced on Tuesday include:
- Muhammad Yaseen, Parliamentary Secretary for Immigration;
- Jason Nixon, leader of the house;
- Doug Schweitzer, deputy leader of the house;
- Ric McIver, deputy leader of the house;
- Sonya Savage, deputy leader of the household;
- Mike Ellis, Whip;
- Joseph Schow, deputy whip.
During the inauguration ceremony, the LieutenantGov. Lois Mitchell took a moment to congratulate each new minister, reminding them that they are among a few who take on the responsibilities of establishing a new vision for the province.
"I know you will honor this unique opportunity by sharing the best of your skills and ideas every day," Mitchell said.
"Everything is possible in Alberta because we have never been a people to do things in half or to escape a challenge." Now it's your turn to define a vision and map the next path to follow.
The new cabinet should have its first meeting immediately after the inauguration ceremony.