David Alward unveils major cabinet shuffle

Premier David Alward promoted four backbench MLAs on Wednesday in a major overhaul of the provincial cabinet.

Alward kept Blaine Higgs in the key position of finance minister. But the premier made several significant moves to his cabinet.

Madeleine Dubé is moving from the Department of Health to the Department of Social Development.

Sue Stultz is moving from that portfolio to lead the Department of Government Services.

Craig Leonard is leaving the recently-created Department of Government Services to lead the Department of Energy and Mines.

Alward promoted four MLAs from the backbench. Newly-elected Rothesay MLA Hugh John Flemming III is the province's new health minister.

Saint-John Lancaster MLA Dorothy Shephard is the new minister of healthy and inclusive communities, Fredericton-area MLA Troy Lifford is the new human resources minister and Grand Falls MLA Danny Soucy is the new post-secondary minister.

“The provinces that are succeeding across the country have one thing in common: a renewed focus on natural resources,” Alward said in a statement.

“These changes put in place the leadership required to rebuild New Brunswick’s forestry sector, while at the same time strengthening our efforts to groom and grow our energy and mining sectors for the future.”

The new cabinet:

Paul Robichaud: Economic Development

Marie-Claude Blais, Attorney General and Justice

Mike Olscamp: Agriculture, Aquaculture and Fisheries

Jody Carr: Education and Early Childhood Development

Craig Leonard: Energy and Mines

Bruce Fitch: Environment and Local Government

Blaine Higgs: Finance

Sue Stultz: Government Services

Hugh (Ted) Flemming: Health

Dorothy Shephard: Healthy and Inclusive Communities

Troy Lifford: Human Resources

Bruce Northrup: Natural Resources

Danny Soucy: Post-Secondary Education, Training and Labour

Robert Trevors: Public Safety

Madeleine Dubé: Social Development

Trevor Holder: Tourism, Heritage and Culture

Claude Williams: Transportation and Infrastructure.

The only minister to be removed from cabinet was Martine Coulombe. She had served as the post-secondary education minister.

Alward's reshaping of the provincial government did not end with a cabinet shuffle. The premier made several changes to the civil service on Wednesday.

The biggest change was at the Department of Post-Secondary Training and Labour, where he appointed Tom Mann as the new deputy minister.

Mann left his position as the executive director of the New Brunswick Union in April to become a conciliator with the federal government. Mann had also worked for the New Brunswick Nurses Union.

“Tom’s background and experience will serve New Brunswickers as a tremendous asset in advancing our government’s renewed focus on developing a strong labour force and strengthening our economy,” Alward said in a statement.

“He will also play a key role extending our new pension model to a number of private and public sector plans, helping achieve our goal of making pensions in New Brunswick more secure, sustainable and affordable.”