Moe shuffles cabinet; Eyre first woman to hold Justice portfolio in Sask.

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Bronwyn Eyre becomes the first female Justice Minister and Attorney General in Saskatchewan. (CBC News - image credit)
Bronwyn Eyre becomes the first female Justice Minister and Attorney General in Saskatchewan. (CBC News - image credit)

Premier Scott Moe shuffled his 18-member cabinet today, with Bronwyn Eyre becoming the province's first female minister of Justice and attorney general.

Eyre had previously been the Saskatchewan Energy minister, a position which will now be held by Jim Reiter.

Eyre said ongoing disagreements with the federal government, such as the carbon tax, will be a priority.

"We see that jurisdictional challenge between the federal and the provincial, constitutionally, certainly, as I say, in energy and resources," Eyre said.

"We see that in environment and some other some other ministries where that is certainly top of mind."

Eyre said Alberta's top court rejecting federal environment legislation that overhauls approvals for energy projects is something she will be closely monitoring.

Moe said fights with the federal government will continue.

"We intervened successfully in the Court of Appeal in Alberta," he said. "If that should move on to the Supreme Court of Canada, certainly we will be intervening in that action as well."

Moe said the province is on the "cusp of further investment and further opportunity, we are going to defend Saskatchewan interests."

"And if that means that we are going to have to use the Constitution to do it, we will."

2 rookies, more changes

The new cabinet was sworn in this morning by Lt.-Gov. Russ Mirasty.

Other changes include Gene Makowsky becoming minister of Social Services while its previous minister, Lori Carr, going to minister of SaskBuilds and Procurement.

Gordon Wyant is now minister of Advanced Education, and Tim McLeod was appointed as the provincial secretary.

Two rookie MLAs are now in cabinet — Dana Skoropad is minister of Environment and Jeremy Cockrill becomes Highways minister.

"I'm anxious to get going," said Skoropad, adding he hopes to "walk in lockstep our economy with environmental initiatives."

CBC News
CBC News

"The science is, I would suggest, irrefutable when it comes to climate change," Skoropad said when asked if he viewed climate change as a crisis.

"It's a matter of how can my ministry now and the folks that I'll be working with, how can we best move forward to address it while at the same time respecting the fact that people need to make a living?"

Impact of climate change

Peter Prebble, a board member with the Saskatchewan Environmental Society, said Skoropad's background as an insurance agent should make him acutely aware of the impact of climate change.

"I'm sure he's aware that the insurance sector is being very negatively impacted by climate change impacts around the world," Prebble said.

"The last 10 years have been much more expensive for the insurance business in Canada than any previous decade, and a lot of that additional expenses related to climate change impacts."

He wants to see a comprehensive plan for reducing Saskatchewan's greenhouse gas emissions.

While there are piecemeal initiatives related to SaskPower and methane reduction, Prebble said "there's no real plan for greenhouse gas emission reduction in the agriculture sector and the transport sector or the building sector, just to use three examples."

Prebble also wants the province to expand protected areas to enhance and protect biodiversity in the province.

He said Saskatchewan's target is to take protected areas from about nine per cent to 12 per cent with no specified date for reaching that target.

"In contrast, the goal of the federal government is to achieve 25 per cent of Canada's land area to be protected by 2025 and 30 per cent of Canada's land area to be protected by 2030. So there's this big gap between the the provincial government targets and the federal government targets."

Ten MLAs stay in their current portfolios:

  • Donna Harpauer (deputy premier; Finance).

  • Don Morgan (Crown Investments Corporation; Labour).

  • Dustin Duncan (Education).

  • Christine Tell (Corrections, Policing and Public Safety).

  • Jeremy Harrison (Trade; Immigration).

  • David Marit (Agriculture).

  • Paul Merriman (Health).

  • Don McMorris (Government Relations; First Nations, Métis and Northern Affairs; Provincial Capital Commission).

  • Laura Ross (Parks, Culture and Sport; Status of Women).

  • Everett Hindley (Mental Health and Addictions, Seniors and Rural and Remote Health).

Opposition response

The NDP opposition is particularly angry that Merriman kept his role as health minister.

"Under his leadership, Saskatchewan had the worst response to the fourth wave of the pandemic, the highest COVID death rate, senior health leaders continue to leave the province, and he's fostered a divisive relationship with our health care workers," Opposition Leader Ryan Meili said in a statement.

"Maintaining him in this role sends a clear signal to front-line workers and will create clear challenges when it comes to the retention and recruitment of health-care workers to this province."

Meanwhile, the government is also creating a new Sustainable Growth Secretariat in executive council which will be overseen by the premier.

Jeremy Harrison will continue to serve as government House leader.

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