Liberal Opposition Leader Gerry Reid says while he is pleased that Labrador
finally has a voice at the cabinet table, he is surprised that the premier
has once again chosen to expand the cabinet in this most recent shuffle.
"Labrador needs a representative at the cabinet table and that is something
we have been advocating for quite a while. However, I am troubled that the
premier has chosen to expand the cabinet for the second time in less than
six months. In 2003, there were 14 cabinet ministers and now there are 16.
There are also five parliamentary secretaries to these ministers who are
each paid close to $25,000 a year.
"During the election campaign of 2003, the premier promised the
electorate that he would have a leaner cabinet . When he appointed his first
cabinet in November 6, 2003, he was keen to highlight the reduced size of
cabinet. At that time, he noted that keeping the cabinet to 14 members
demonstrated that his government was" prepared to lead by example" when
dealing with fiscal constraints."
The Liberal Leader says it is also interesting that veteran politicians
such as Roger Fitzgerald have been left out of cabinet once again. "It is
difficult to understand why such long-serving caucus members have been
With respect to the appointment of a new minister of business, Reid noted
that the premier was suppose to be responsible for this department in the
past. "Under his leadership, we have seen very little in the way of results
from this department. The premier even refused to appear before the budget
estimate committee to defend the spending for this portfolio.
"His cabinet restructuring at this time is simply a case of the premier
trying to distance himself from his failure in the business portfolio and at
the same time attempting to bolster an MHA who is widely speculated to be in
political trouble in his district before the next election.
"The premier is trying to reassure the people of the province that his
government will now be more invigorated and dedicated. I hardly think that
three years into his mandate, these recent cabinet changes will inspire any
confidence that this is a stronger government."