Westman’s Progressive Conservative MLAs also received new responsibilities after the shadow cabinet was shuffled by new party leader Brian Pallister on Wednesday.
Arthur-Virden MLA Larry Maguire retained the Conservation portfolio and gained the Water Stewardship file.
“I think it’s a much bigger portfolio than the flooding we’ve had, though that is a key part of the issue right now, to the government’s demise, and it hasn’t been handled very well,” Maguire said. “It’s not just the flood in 2011, but the flooding along the Assiniboine River this year, which is a big part of western Manitoba’s issue right now.”
Maguire, who has previously served as Water Stewardship critic, said many of the issues faced by flooded farmers are governed by those two departments.
“The government has one responsible for those departments and it makes sense to combine them again,” Maguire said.
Spruce Woods MLA Cliff Cullen is the critic for Healthy Living, Seniors and Consumer Affairs. He also has critic responsibilities for the Liquor Control Act.
“I am looking forward to the challenges there,” Cullen said. “With 55 per cent of our province’s budget going towards health care, the whole concept of healthy living and issues related to health are quite important.”
Cullen said the increasing number of seniors in Manitoba “have been ignored by the NDP government.”
Consumer Affairs deals with the business community, which also gives Cullen a chance to speak to a growing number of regulations affecting Manitoba’s businesses.
“The first thing we’ll start with is getting in touch with people in those sectors so that we are clear on what those issues are,” Cullen said. I have been a critic of Crown corporations before and I’ll have a look at the changes made (to the Liquor Control Act) that haven’t been all that favourable to rural Manitoba.”
Cullen said licence issues have placed burdens on smaller liquor sales outlets in rural areas that “make it more expensive to do business.”
Riding Mountain MLA Leanne Rowat has been appointed critic for family services, labour, the Workers Compensation Board, persons with disabilities and status of Women. Ste. Rose MLA Stuart Briese takes over the advanced education and literacy portfolios.
Rowat and Briese were not available for comment at press time.
Pallister said of Briese that he is a respected member of the caucus and that he, “does get listened to when he speaks.”
“(Advanced Education) is an area of great importance I think to the future of this province and Stu will do a real good job there,” Pallister said.
Pallister said Rowat has previous experience working in the social services field, and that work will serve her well as the Family Services critic.
“She has the ability to add a really credible voice in terms of the challenges our province is facing,” Pallister said.
“With the Phoenix Sinclair inquiry, this is an area we are going to hear more and more about. We are concerned that vulnerable children are not being well-served with the approach this government is taking.”
The Progressive Conservative shadow cabinet for the upcoming legislative session, as announced by Leader Brian Pallister on Wednesday:
• Brian Pallister — Federal-provincial relations, Francophone affairs
• Myrna Driedger — Finance, Civil Service, Crown Corporation Accountability, Deputy Leader
• Blaine Peterson — Local Government, Caucus Chairman
• Mavis Tallieu —Infrastructure and Transportation, Emergency Services, Lotteries, Caucus Whip
• Kelvin Goertzen — Education, House Leader
• Reg Helwer — Justice, Attorney General, Constitutional Affairs, Manitoba Public Insurance
• Bonnie Mitchelson — Immigration and Multiculturalism
• Cameron Friesen — Health
• Larry Maguire — Conservation and Water Stewardship
• Ron Schuler — Innovation, Energy and Mines, Manitoba Hydro
• Heather Stefanson — Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Affairs, Sport, Aboriginal Education, Red River Floodway and East Side Road Authority Act
• Cliff Cullen — Healthy Living, Seniors and Consumer Affairs, Liquor Control Act
• Cliff Graydon — Entrepreneurship, Training and Trade
• Ian Wishart — Housing and Community Development
• Leanne Rowat — Family Services, Labour, Workers Compensation Board, Persons with Disabilities, Status of Women
• Wayne Ewasko — Culture, Heritage and Tourism
• Stuart Briese — Advanced Education and Literacy
• Dennis Smook — Children and Youth Opportunities, Healthy Child Manitoba
• Ralph Eichler —Agriculture, Food and Rural Initiatives
» Progressive Conservative Party of Manitoba
Republished from the Brandon Sun print edition September 6, 2012