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Home News Prince Albert MLA Ross takes on new role in Tuesday cabinet shuffle

Prince Albert MLA Ross takes on new role in Tuesday cabinet shuffle

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Prince Albert MLA Ross takes on new role in Tuesday cabinet shuffle
Prince Albert Northcote MLA Alana Ross. -- Herald file photo.

Prince Albert Northcote MLA Alana Ross has a new job title after Premier Scott Moe announced a cabinet shuffle on Tuesday.

Ross will serve as Legislative Secretary Responsible for forestry to new Energy and Resources Minister Jim Reiter. She will also serve as the Government Deputy Whip.

Ross said she had no idea what roles she was under consideration for, but was happy to land where she did.

“It was kind of a surprise to be offered these particular positions, and I’m really honoured,” she said during a phone interview Tuesday afternoon. “I’m pleased to serve the government and our community in whatever capacity is required of me.”

Ross takes her legislative secretary role for forestry as the government looks to the energy and natural resource sector to help the province’s economic recovery.

TURN – Cabinet shuffle shows ‘commitment to status quo’ says NDP

Saskatchewan’s economy shrunk by 0.3 per cent in 2021, largely due to drought that hammered the agriculture sector, but booming resource prices should reverse that trend. The Conference Board of Canada predicts Saskatchewan and Alberta will lead Canada in GDP growth this year, with most of those gains coming from energy.

Ross said the government’s next challenge is to ensure all residents benefit from rising resource prices and new developments like the reopening of the Prince Albert pulp mill. She’s confident the new cabinet announced on Tuesday has the experience to meet that challenge.

Five government ministers returned to cabinet, but in different portfolios, including Jim Reiter, the new Energy and Resources Minister. Gord Wyant steps into the role of Education Minister, Gene Makowsky becomes Minister of Social Services, and Bronwyn Eyre becomes the province’s first female Minister of Justice and Attorney General. Lori Carr remains in cabinet as well. She’ll oversee several portfolios, including Minister Responsible for Saskatchewan Liquor and Gaming Authority.

Ten ministers retained their old portfolios, including Paul Merriman, who remains minister of Health. That decision drew criticism from opposition leader Ryan Meili, who said Merriman’s handling of the latest COVID wave shows a need for new leadership on the file.

“Senior health leaders continue to leave the province, and he’s fostered a divisive relationship with our health care workers,” Meili said in a statement released on Tuesday. “Maintaining him in this role sends a clear signal to frontline workers and will create clear challenges when it comes to the retention and recruitment of health care workers to this province.”

Meili said the cabinet shuffle as a whole shows a lack of forward thinking on the government’s part, and an unacceptable commitment to the status quo.

When asked for her thoughts on the decision to retain Merriman and other ministers, Ross said she supported the appointments.

“I have great faith in our cabinet ministers, as our government does,” she said.

“They’re strong ministers. They’re strong in the positions they’re in. They’re working on projects and directions within those ministries, so yes, I think it’s a wise choice.”

Only two new MLAs will enter cabinet for the first time. Jeremy Cockrill becomes the Minister of Highways with responsibility for the Water Security Agency, while Dana Skoropad becomes Minister of Environment.