Cabinet shuffle shows lack of depth, lack of good judgment

If Brad Wall was hoping to infuse some new energy in his tired cabinet, he’s missed the mark by a long shot, says the Opposition.

Brad Wall shuffled his cabinet Thursday, moving a few current ministers into each other’s portfolios. The only new addition is Herb Cox, a campaign manager for the Sask. Party’s Elwin Hermanson-led election bid in 2003.

“These guys are getting more and more tired, but Mr. Wall has no bench strength he can trust to replace them. There really isn’t a next-generation cabinet there,” said NDP Deputy Leader Trent Wotherspoon.

“This is the same cabinet that decided to add $1.5 billion of debt this year, jacking it up to over $13.2 billion dollars. And this is the cabinet that drained the rainy day savings fund, failed to save a penny during a boom and still can’t explain where all the money has gone.”

Wotherspoon pointed out that Moose Jaw and Prince Albert will still go unrepresented in cabinet.

“The Sask. Party MLAs for Moose Jaw are absolutely silent when it comes to things like the hyperbaric chamber or allowing John Black Lean to shrink the Moose Jaw hospital and cut the number of beds and the number of health care workers. The remaining Sask. Party MLA for Prince Albert thinks Prince Albert doesn’t need a second bridge. Victoria Jurgens claims Prince Albert doesn’t need anything in this year’s budget to expand and renovate their hospital capacity. And she has been silent and absent as 2,000 Prince Albert homeowners are facing a flood-plain enforcement change that could be financially devastating. The strength and the judgment of these MLAs is questionable, and once again these two large cities go unrepresented at the cabinet table.” 

Long-time minister Don McMorris becomes the deputy premier. The additional leadership role is a concern for the Opposition, particularly after McMorris yelled across the Legislative Assembly floor just a week ago that the government shouldn’t pass an anti-bullying bill or require that students be allowed to form Gender and Sexuality Alliances or Gay Straight Alliances (GSAs) in schools, because, he yelled, "Are we supposed to legislate that they have friends?"

New Democrats are also concerned about the appointment of Herb Cox to the important environment portfolio. Cox responded to questions from the media Thursday about the biggest issues in the environment portfolio. Instead of citing the challenges of reversing Saskatchewan’s record as the highest per-capita carbon emitter in the nation with no plan to address climate change, Cox said Zebra Mussels is the single largest issue facing Saskatchewan’s environment. He stated that he doesn’t yet know yet if climate change is real.