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Premier shuffles deputy ministers

The premier's decision to shuffle around the government's senior public servants is a "major upheaval," said Liberal MLA Sandy Silver.

The premier’s decision to shuffle around the government’s senior public servants is a “major upheaval,” said Liberal MLA Sandy Silver.

Darrell Pasloski announced yesterday that six deputy ministers will assume new portfolios as of September 10.

He insisted that the move will strengthen the government by encouraging better communication and collaboration between departments.

Silver suggested an ulterior motive. The change “could have been avoided if the government had simply admitted it was unhappy with the work of one its deputy ministers and let them go,” he said.

“I’d say that’s totally unfounded and fabricated,” responded the premier. “I have confidence in all of our deputy ministers. I think it’s an opportune time to be able to expand our capabilities and we can do that by selectively moving some deputies around.”

Pasloski added that shifts in the government structure like this one should happen on a regular basis because they contribute to the health of the organization.

Some deputy ministers are appointed because of specific expertise in the portfolio, while others have extensive experience as a leader across a variety of areas, Pasloski said.

Ultimately, “it comes down to leadership” and being able to deliver on the priorities of the government, the premier said.

Harvey Brooks, the current deputy minister of economic development, will take Jeff O’Farrell’s place as the deputy minister of community services.

O’Farrell will move to Joy Waters’ position as the deputy minister of tourism and culture.

Waters will become president and CEO of the Yukon Worker’s Compensation Health and Safety Board, taking the place of Valerie Royle.

Royle will take on the role of deputy minister of education, currently held by Pamela Hine.

Hine will take Ron MacMillan’s place as the president of the Yukon Housing Corporation, Yukon Liquor Corporation and Yukon Lottery Commission.

MacMillan will assume the currently vacant position of deputy minister of justice.

The government will begin recruiting for a new deputy minister of economic development.

They are also looking to fill the position in health and social services because the current deputy minister, Stuart Whitley, is retiring.

Pasloski announced that he has also provided all deputy ministers with mandate letters, which he hopes will steer them towards fulfilling the promises made during his election campaign.

Those letters will be made public, he said, but at this point they have not been released.

Contact Jacqueline Ronson at