Danielle Smith celebrates after being chosen as the new leader of the United Conservative Party and next Alberta premier in Calgary, Alta., Thursday, Oct. 6, 2022.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh

Central Alberta MLAs named to Premier Smith’s cabinet

Alberta Premier Danielle Smith has picked a new cabinet, elevating campaign supporters, embracing leadership rivals and parting ways with Jason Nixon — the key lieutenant to former premier Jason Kenney.

Smith, in a statement, says some key ministers will stay in place, including Health Minister Jason Copping, Justice Minister Tyler Shandro and Education Minister Adriana LaGrange.

Travis Toews, the runner-up to Smith in the UCP leadership race, returns to his old job as finance minister while former Wildrose leader and Smith UCP leadership rival Brian Jean takes on duties in a renamed department titled Jobs, Economy and Northern Development.

“I am thrilled to begin working with this strong, determined, united group of MLAs. Alberta’s future is bright – but there’s a lot of work to be done,” Smith said in a statement.

“Our team will work every day to gain your trust, make bold changes and continue to build the most innovative, entrepreneurial and welcoming province in the world. I want to thank our entire team for their tireless dedication to Albertans and we’re looking forward to the days ahead.”

Kaycee Madu, who supported Smith in the leadership race, will become one of two deputy premiers while taking over a new portfolio titled Skilled Trades and Professions.

Mike Ellis, another Smith supporter, will leave his job as associate minister of mental health and addictions to head up a new ministry titled Public Safety.

Smith supporter Peter Guthrie is the new energy minister, while Todd Loewen who ran against Smith in the leadership race but often echoed her policy ideas, will head up a new department titled Forestry, Parks and Tourism.

MLA for Innisfail-Sylvan Lake Devin Dreeeshen returns to cabinet as Minister of Transportation and Economic Corridors. Dreeshen was formally Minister of Agriculture and Forestry until he resigned from Jason Kenney’s cabin in November of 2021. Dreeshen was also named to the treasury board.

“Honoured to serve as Alberta’s new Minister of Transportation and Economic Corridors,” Dreeshen posted on Twitter.

“I will use this position to improve the everyday quality of life for Albertans; and to improve trade links for our energy, agriculture, and manufactured goods around the world.”

Ron Orr, MLA for Lacombe- Ponoka was dropped from Smith’s cabinet after serving as Minister of Culture and Status of Women. He took over the job in July of 2021.

Rimbey-Rocky Mountain House- Sundre MLA Jason Nixon, was appointed environment and parks minister in April of 2019. He served as acting finance minister during the UCP leadership campaign. Nixon will now act as the chair of the Economy and Affordability Cabinet Policy Committee.

Red Deer-South MLA Jason Stephan will serve as Smith’s Economy and Affordability Cabinet Policy Committee chair.

With Files from the Canadian Press.

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