Major cabinet shuffle will leave chaos in its wake: opposition

Opposition parties say they are shocked by the scale of last week's cabinet shuffle, which saw every cabinet minister except the premier assigned to at least one new portfolio.

Opposition parties say they are shocked by the scale of last week’s cabinet shuffle, which saw every cabinet minister except the premier assigned to at least one new portfolio.

“My jaw dropped when I saw that every single person was impacted by this,” said NDP MLA Jan Stick, a few hours after Premier Darrell Pasloski announced the shuffle Friday morning.

“There are big issues in every department right now,” she said.

“There are important things happening. And to just see everything thrown up in the air and land where it will, I’m wondering where in all of this are the priorities? Where is the leadership?”

The premier was clearly unhappy with the direction the government had been heading, said Liberal Leader Sandy Silver.

“It absolutely is a drastic measure,” he said. “It’s got to cause a certain amount of chaos in the procedural operations in those departments.”

The shuffle will no-doubt make it even harder to get answers from ministers during the next legislative sitting, as they fall back on the line, “I’m new on this file, so I can’t comment,” said Silver.

Pasloski, who did not respond to multiple interview requests by press time, has suggested that the shuffle was about giving more responsibility to rural MLAs.

Pelly-Nisutlin MLA Stacey Hassard joined cabinet, taking on the portfolios of Economic Development, Yukon Housing Corporation, Yukon Liquor Corporation and Yukon Lottery Commission.

And Vuntut Gwitchin MLA Darius Elias failed to snag a cabinet seat, but was appointed government house leader.

Many have speculated that one of the primary motivations of the shuffle was to remove Lake Laberge MLA Brad Cathers from the Community Services and housing files.

Whitehorse city council voted unanimously to have Cathers removed from those portfolios in October, and the Liberal party also called for his resignation over the last-minute cancellation of an affordable housing project.

Cathers was demoted from government house leader to deputy house leader.

He’s now in charge of Justice, Yukon Development Corporation and Yukon Energy Corporation.

Whitehorse Mayor Dan Curtis said he’s very pleased with the new assignments.

“In terms of what’s important to the city, I think that we’ve got two really good ministers.”

Currie Dixon is the new Community Services minister, and the mayor is already working to set up a formal meeting, he said.

And Hassard will do well on the housing file, said Curtis.

“I think it’s a fantastic choice. I really do. I think he has some really good perspectives from the municipal level, working in the Village of Teslin.

“I’m very pleased with the choices that were made, and I think that our city and our working relationship will benefit greatly from the change.”

Contact Jacqueline Ronson at

jronson@yukon-news.com

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