New cabinet under Alberta Premier Danielle Smith to be sworn in Monday

Alberta’s new cabinet will be sworn in today at a ceremony at Government House in Edmonton.

Premier Danielle Smith announced who would head the top tier of her government on Friday — a 27-member cabinet supported by 11 parliamentary secretaries.

After Monday morning’s ceremony, Smith and her cabinet will hold a media availability with reporters.

Smith defeated six rivals earlier this month in the leadership race to replace Jason Kenney as party leader and premier, and all but one of the six have a place at Smith’s cabinet table.

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The ministers and parliamentary secretaries represent close to two-thirds of the entire governing United Conservative Party caucus.

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The party held its annual general meeting over the weekend at the River Cree Resort and Casino on Edmonton’s western outskirts, where Smith said her government has instituted a process where every legislature member _ minister or not _ is “going to be meaningfully involved in creating and developing government policy.”

“Every MLA must be empowered to effectively represent the constituents they serve regardless of their title,” Smith said during her address Saturday, adding that was how former premier Ralph Klein did things.

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Smith also told reporters at the event she is seeking legal advice on whether she can pardon those fined for non-criminal violations of health restrictions during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Following a divisive leadership campaign, Smith said her caucus is now unified and ready to defend government against the Opposition NDP in next spring’s election.

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NDP Leader Rachel Notley, who spoke at her party’s provincial convention in Calgary that was also held on the weekend, said she expected both she and her party would be the focus of much of the discussion at the UCP gathering.

“They’ve had quite a year. I never thought I’d say this about Jason Kenney but I kind of miss him. Weird right?” Notley said in her speech Saturday, without once mentioning Smith by name.

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&© 2022 The Canadian Press

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