Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Alberta Cabinet Shuffle: Ted Morton is the Man

For a more organized version of these thoughts geared to those outside of Alberta, check out my online column at the Post.

I'll have more analysis later tonight, but the biggest headline grabber in Ed Stelmach's cabinet shuffle is the move of Ted Morton to Finance.

You probably don't need me to point this one out, since every pundit will, but this seems like an obvious move to shore up on Ed's right flank, with the Wild Rose breathing down his neck.

UPDATE: One commenter remarks that Morton's influence may be dampened, since Treasury Board (still Snelgrove) makes a lot of the big decisions. True, but this is all about optics, not reality. And the optics of this are that Morton is the man. That's important when it comes to cutting off the Wild Rose on the right.

And I tend to think it's also important when it comes to Stelmach holding on to his leadership. Morton is the heir apparent right now, and puting him in Finance staples him to Stelmach. Sure, disgruntled PCs will complain about Stelmach's financial mismanagement, but how do you replace him with a guy who's going to bring in a monstrous deficit this year?

As for the other moves, there aren't a ton of surprises. Liepert was hurting in Health, so he had to go. A pair of Stelmach loyalists - George Groeneveld and Fred Lindsay - get punted. I presume the thinking is that anyone else kicked out of Cabinet would just keep on walking over to Danielle Smith's welcoming arms.

Three youngsters join Cabinet, to try and stave off accusations that it's an old and tired government - Jonathan Denis from Calgary, Thomas Lukaszuk from Edmonton, and Frank Oberle from Peace River. Lukaszuk, the oldest of the bunch, was 2 when the PCs first came to power in Alberta in 1971. Denis is a good addition - he's young, he's talented, and he's far more capable of holding down a Cabinet spot than a lowly bus driver - he'll do well in housing.

So there weren't a ton of surprises - Stelmach did what he had to do and, by and large, I tend to think these moves will help him in 2010. Whether it's enough to stop the bleeding remains to be seen.


  • Anyone who thinks Morton got a promotion doesn’t understand the difference between Finance and Treasury Board. Morton will get to announce the budget and the quarterly updates – period. The premier’s pal Lloyd Snelgrove – an early supporter of his leadership bid – decides where the money gets spent and by whom. In a clash between the egghead American professor and the Vegreville good ol’ boy, who do you think comes out on top? Morton said some nasty things about Stelmach during the leadership and Eddie the Unready has proven that the only thing he values more than loyalty is revenge!

    By Anonymous Robert Gerard, at 6:08 p.m.  

  • Denis is a former Young Liberal provincial president from Saskatchewan - a Liberal that figured out how to get elected in Alberta.

    Good guy who should serve that portfolio well.

    By Anonymous Chelle, at 7:30 p.m.  

  • I'm pretty sure *I* understand the difference between Finance and Treasury Board, and you're exaggerating the difference for effect. Treasury Boards get to approve or reject your crazy plan to spend a million bucks from your budget for office furniture this year. Finance gets to decide if your department even gets the million bucks to begin with.

    For fun, I'd take Treasury Board. For a promotion, I'd take Finance any day - and so would anyone in the country, because, duh, it's a promotion.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 7:30 p.m.  

  • Morton said some nasty things about Stelmach during the leadership

    He did? Like what?

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 11:40 p.m.  

  • I wonder if Denis was given a cabinet post to keep him from jumping ship to the Wildrose.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 9:40 a.m.  

  • How does Stelmach spell relief?

    Two words:

    Pembina Cardium

    A really, really cold February and March in the US Midwest would help also.

    By Blogger whyshouldIsellyourwheat, at 9:32 p.m.  

  • Weren't the Liberals in Saskatchewan more like the BC Liberals - a conservative leaning party?

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 8:24 p.m.  

  • I was brimming when Ted Morton’s campaign released this to praise their leader. Now, thanks to Alberta’s Health Minister and Stelmach supporter, Iris Evans, I have this bit of praise for Ed Stelmach to delight in: … she says Ed is a good listener who will take time to feel the pulse and not do things off the cuff. When he makes a decision he’ll do the deed without a lot of hoopla.

    By Anonymous buy r4i, at 11:27 a.m.  

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