Friday, June 22, 2007

Alberta: Can you say "knee-jerk"?

In an obvious knee-jerk reaction to losing Ralph Klein's old seat in Calgary, Premier Stelmach has just increased the size of his cabinet by 3 people. 2 from Calgary and 1 from Edmonton. Plus, he has made Calgary Cabinet Minister Ron Stevens the new Deputy Premier.

The new associate cabinet ministers are:
Yvonne Fritz, MLA for Calgary-Cross, as Associate Minister of Affordable Housing and Urban Development

Cindy Ady, MLA for Calgary-Shaw, as Associate Minister of Tourism Promotion (with responsibility for Alberta's participation in activities pertaining to the 2010 Olympics in British Columbia)

Gene Zwozdesky, MLA for Edmonton-Mill Creek, as Associate Minister for Capital Planning

This increase in cabinet also flies in the face of a promise Premier Stelmach made during campaign promise (emphasis mine):

I believe that a smaller Cabinet executive that focused on the priorities of building a stronger Alberta, managing growth, and improving the quality of life is more effective in meeting the immediate challenges facing the province.(Read the quote here: http://www.taxpayer.com/main/news.php?news_id=2445)

In turn, wouldn't Stelmach believe a larger cabinet is less effective? Obviously or he wouldn't have cut the size of his cabinet in the first place.

Further, in his December 15, 2006 press release the Premier is quoted as saying: "The people of this province told me they wanted more effective government, not more of it."

(http://www.gov.ab.ca/acn/200612/2090686D62539-DEAB-4B63-2047FAC61EB464B8.html)

Is adding an associate minister of tourism more effective or just more, Mr. Premier?

I would also think that more hands around the cabinet table come budget time is going to make it tough for them to keep a lid on spending. Not that there's even a lid to be found anymore in Alberta.

Lastly, to my recollection (which isn't all that long), this is the first time a cabinet swearing-in ceremony has taken place in Calgary instead of at Government House in Edmonton.

That alone reminds me of another desperate move from a former Ontario government...

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