Liepert is out as health minister

The premier officially announced the cabinet shuffle on Wednesday.

As predicted, Ron Liepert has been removed from the health portfolio and will now serve as minister of energy.

The new minister of health is Gene Zwozdesky.

Mel Knight is the new minister responsible for sustainable resource development and Ted Morton has been reassigned to finance.

Morton's appointment has raised concern at the Alberta Federation of Labour.

Officials say during Morton's campaign for leadership of the PC Party he promised to reduce government spending and create a smaller public service.

"The choice of Ted Morton as finance minister will undoubtedly mean deep cuts to Alberta's public service and needless job losses," says Gil McGowan, the federation's president.

Iris Evans has been reassigned to international and intergovernmental relations. She used to be minister of finance.

Three ministers have also lost their posts including, Fred Lindsay who is being replaced by Frank Oberle as solicitor general, Jack Hayden will take over agriculture from George Groeneveld, and Janice Tarchuk loses children and youth services to Yvonne Fritz.

The leader of the provincial NDP is not impressed with the changes. "These are mostly the same faces. This is a tired, cynical government that is out of ideas," says Brian Mason.

The leader of the provincial Liberals says he was also hoping for some new faces. "We have a premier who has demonstrated time and time again that he is unwilling and incapable of changing the people around him," says David Swann.

Swann says he is happy Liepert has been moved out of the health portfolio. "Hopefully, Minister Liepert will not do the same damage to the energy industry that he did to the health care system."

The new cabinet will be sworn in on Friday morning at Government House.

CTV, Wed Jan 13 2010

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