Major cabinet shuffle announced

Premier Darrell Pasloski has shuffled his cabinet, and just about everyone has a new job. The cabinet has grown by one member.

Premier Darrell Pasloski has shuffled his cabinet, and just about everyone has a new job.

The cabinet has grown by one member, with Pelly-Nisutlin MLA Stacey Hassard taking on the portfolios of Economic Development, Yukon Housing Corporation, Yukon Liquor Corporation and Yukon Lottery Commission.

“As an MLA representing a riding outside Whitehorse, I am very pleased to be given these new responsibilities,” said Hassard in a news release this morning.

Brad Cathers, who used to be in charge of Community

Services, housing, liquor and lotteries, will now head the Department of Justice and be responsible for the Yukon Development Corporation and Yukon Energy Corporation.

In October Whitehorse City Council voted unanimously to ask the premier to remove Cathers from the housing and community services files.

“We’ve been struggling for quite a while with this minister,” said Mayor Dan Curtis at the time.

“I personally don’t feel that he shares the same values that our municipality does. I feel like the relationship is really tarnished because of the action and disrespect I feel that he has been treating our municipality with.”

A great deal of the tension arose from the last-minute cancellation of an affordable housing project that would have seen 75 new rental apartment units in the city.

Liberal Leader Sandy Silver also called for Cathers’s resignation over the handling of that file.

The premier’s response did not directly address his confidence in Cathers, either for a particular file, or in general.

“This government operates as a team,” said Pasloski in a news release at the time. “We presented ourselves as a team during the 2011 election campaign and that’s exactly what we continue to deliver to Yukoners. Our team, including Minister Brad Cathers, has worked together to accomplish great things to date, and there’s more to come.”

Cathers has also lost his spot as government house leader. That position has gone to Vuntut Gwitchin MLA Darius Elias, who does not hold a cabinet position. Elias also has been assigned deputy chair for committee of the whole.

The housing file, as previously mentioned, went to Hassard.

Copperbelt North MLA Currie Dixon will take on Community Services. Dixon had been in charge of Environment and Economic Development. He retains his responsibility over the Public Service Commission.

The massive Health and Social Services portfolio has switched hands from Porter Creek North MLA Doug Graham to Porter Creek South MLA Mike Nixon. Along with it goes responsibility for the Workers’ Compensation Health and Safety Board.

Graham has picked up the significant Education portfolio, which previously belonged to Whitehorse West MLA Elaine Taylor.

Taylor has taken on Tourism and Culture, which had been Nixon’s purview. She has kept her spot as deputy premier and her responsibilities for the women’s directorate and the French language services directorate.

Kluane MLA Wade Istchenko has been assigned to the Environment file. He was previously minister for Highways and Public Works.

Highways is now under the direction of Riverdale North MLA Scott Kent, who also continues to hold Energy, Mines and Resources.

Responsibility for the development and energy corporations used to come with the Energy, Mines and Resources portfolio, but as of today that is no longer the case.

Cathers, who was in charge of EMR before he was in charge of Community Services, is now responsible again for those corporations, but not the larger Energy file.

Only a few Yukon Party MLAs have the same job description today as they did yesterday.

Pasloski, who is the MLA for Mountainview, unsurprisingly retains control of the Executive Council Office and the Finance Department.

Watson Lake MLA Patti McLeod is still the deputy speaker and chair of committee of the whole, and has no cabinet portfolio.

Porter Creek Centre MLA David Laxton is still the speaker of the legislative assembly.

Contact Jacqueline Ronson at

jronson@yukon-news.com

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