Alberta Premier Danielle Smith unveiled her cabinet with 24 ministers — nearly half the MLAs in her caucus (49).
“We are at a momentous point in Alberta’s history. Today marks the beginning of an exciting future, one that will unfold over the next four years,” announced Smith at the Alberta Legislature on Friday.
"This new cabinet is ready and willing to roll up its sleeves to take clear and decisive action to achieve our promises and commitments to Albertans. Working as a team, we will govern for everyone in the province."
Among Smith’s cabinet is five women. No previous ministers have been taken out, but many shuffled to other ministries.
Alberta UCP MLA Mike Ellis maintains the Public Safety and Emergency Services portfolio, while MLA Todd Loewen stays as Forestry and Parks minister and MLA Devin Dreeshen as Transportation and Economic Corridors minister once again.
Among the notable portfolio shifts include new Finance minister and Treasury Board president Nate Horner, Kenney loyalist Jason Nixon as Seniors, Community, and Social Services minister, and Adriana LaGrange as the new Health minister.
After earning a slim majority, Smith said Albertans "believed in our promises, and gave us a mandate to make them happen."
The premier pledged to lead the cabinet "to ensure a stronger, safer, more prosperous province that Albertans deserve today and that we want our children and our grandchildren to inherit tomorrow."
"And may our province forever remain strong and free," she said.
The Canadian Taxpayers Federation (CTF) previously called on Smith and the UCP to reduce the size of cabinet, expressing their disappointment with Friday’s announcement.
“Albertans don’t need a big cabinet to run things out of Edmonton,” said Kris Sims, the Alberta CTF Director. “Smith should have followed in the footsteps of former premier Ralph Klein and cut the size of cabinet when first elected as premier.”
In 1992, Klein reduced the provincial cabinet from 26 to 17 after he was elected to replace former premier Don Getty. When Smith became premier last October, her cabinet had 25 ministers.
Former premier Rachel Notley’s cabinet had 22 members when she was voted out in 2019.
“Surely this UCP government can save taxpayers’ money and put together a smaller cabinet than the NDP,” said Sims. “Albertans are hardworking and frugal and it would be good to see those qualities reflected in a leaner cabinet.”
Alberta cabinet ministers are paid $181,404 per year.
“It’s a positive that the size of cabinet has not grown, but seeing it reduced would have been better,” Sims told the Western Standard.
Smith responded to the pushback by saying the previous cabinet structure worked to push her ambitious agenda. She said the UCP has accomplished plenty in the last seven months and did not want to wait to announce her cabinet.
Smith remains confident that she has the right people at the helm, and pledged to deliver on her promises and fulfill what is best for Alberta.