Saskatchewan Premier Brad Wall introduced his governments new cabinet on Tuesday morning. The Cabinet is made up of 17 ministers, one less than before.
Premier Wall says his new minister responsible for SaskTel will be the point man with the public if there is an offer to buy the Crown telecommunications company.
Wall made Dustin Duncan Energy and Resources minister in a cabinet shuffle Tuesday, but also gave him SaskTel duties.
The premier says any offer for SaskTel that checked off a number of boxes would be taken to people for input and Duncan would lead that consultation.
Wall says any deal would have to generate a significant amount of cash preferably enough to eliminate the debt create jobs in Regina and provide better phone service.
The premier and Duncan both emphasize there’s no offer for SaskTel at the moment.
A report released in June said the takeover of Manitoba Telecom Services by Bell poses serious risks to SaskTel, which faces competition from the three big national wireless companies.
Five MLAs are entering cabinet, including four who become ministers for the first time:
Tina Beaudry-Mellor becomes Minister of Social Services and Minister responsible for the Status of Women;
Dave Marit becomes Minister of Highways and Infrastructure;
Bronwyn Eyre becomes Minister of Advanced Education;
Joe Hargrave becomes Minister of Crown Investments Corporation (CIC), Saskatchewan Government Insurance (SGI) and Saskatchewan Transportation Company (STC).
Ken Cheveldayoff re-enters cabinet as Minister of Parks, Culture and Sport and Minister responsible for the Public Service Commission (PSC).
Veteran MLA and minister Don Morgan becomes Saskatchewan’s new Deputy Premier. Morgan will continue to serve as Minister of Education and Minister of Labour.
Four other ministers will retain their current cabinet responsibilities. They are:
Finance Minister Kevin Doherty;
Agriculture Minister Lyle Stewart;
Rural and Remote Health Minister Greg Ottenbreit; and
Justice and SaskBuilds Minister Gordon Wyant, whose Justice responsibilities will now also include corrections and policing. Wyant also becomes Minister responsible for SaskPower.
Six ministers are changing portfolios:
Jim Reiter becomes Minister of Health;
Donna Harpauer becomes Minister of Government Relations and Minister responsible for First Nations, Métis and Northern Affairs;
Dustin Duncan becomes Minister of Energy and Resources and Minister responsible for SaskTel and SaskEnergy;
Jeremy Harrison becomes Minister of the Economy, Minister responsible for the Global Transportation Hub (GTH) and Minister responsible for Saskatchewan Liquor and Gaming Authority (SLGA);
Scott Moe becomes Minister of Environment, Minister responsible for Saskatchewan Water Corporation and Minister responsible for Saskatchewan Water Security Agency;
Christine Tell becomes Minister of Central Services, Minister responsible for Saskatchewan Gaming Corporation and Minister responsible for the Provincial Capital Commission.
The size of cabinet has been reduced by one minister to 17, including the Premier. Wall noted that represents about a five per cent reduction in the size of cabinet and will save taxpayers about $450,000 a year.
(with files from The Canadian Press)