Ben­nett re­signs, cab­i­net shuf­fled

Lisa Demp­ster in, Perry Trimper out

The Aurora (Labrador City) - - FRONT PAGE - BY JAMES MCLEOD

ST.JOHN’S, NL — It started with the sur­prise res­ig­na­tion of Cathy Ben­nett as min­is­ter of Fi­nance, but by the end of the day last Mon­day, Premier Dwight Ball had shuf­fled his cab­i­net well be­yond just re­plac­ing one se­nior min­is­ter.

Speaker Tom Os­borne will be­come the new min­is­ter of Fi­nance, re­turn­ing for the first time in a decade af­ter he was dropped by then-premier Danny Wil­liams, way back when Os­borne was a Pro­gres­sive Con­ser­va­tive MHA.

Os­borne in­her­its a deficit of nearly $800 mil­lion, and an ex­tremely dif­fi­cult con­tract ne­go­ti­a­tion process with the prov­ince’s pub­lic sec­tor unions.

While there have been rum­blings for weeks about a mid-sum­mer cab­i­net shuf­fle, Ben­nett’s res­ig­na­tion came as a to­tal shock to most po­lit­i­cal watch­ers.Ben­nett would not do in­ter­views Mon­day, and in a news re­lease she was quoted as say­ing the res­ig­na­tion was be­cause of “nu­mer­ous per­sonal rea­sons.” She is ex­pected to stay on as MHA for Wind­sor Lake.

On Mon­day, Ball also shuf­fled Gerry Byrne from Ad­vanced Ed­u­ca­tion, Skills and Labour to the Depart­ment of Fish­eries and Land Re­sources.

Steve Crocker moved from Fish­eries to the Depart­ment of Trans­porta­tion.

Al Hawkins went from Trans­porta­tion to Ad­vanced Ed­u­ca­tion, Skills and Labour.

Cartwright-L’Anse au Clair MHA Lisa Demp­ster was also brought into cab­i­net Mon­day as Min­is­ter of Chil­dren, Se­niors and So­cial Devel­op­ment. The former min­is­ter for that depart­ment, Sherry Gam­bin-Walsh, was moved to the Ser­vice NL port­fo­lio.

That frees up Lake Melville MHA Perry Trimper, who was dropped from cab­i­net.

But Ball said Trimper will likely find a soft land­ing in the speaker’s chair in the House of As­sem­bly this fall.

“He’s some­body that I think would ac­tu­ally make a fan­tas­tic speaker,” Ball said. “I’ll be ask­ing our cau­cus to sup­port Perry as speaker of the House of As­sem­bly.”

The shuf­fle comes just af­ter the cab­i­net’s sum­mer re­treat in Deer Lake. It’s the first ma­jor shake-up since the Lib­er­als formed the gov­ern­ment in 2015.

JOE GIBBONS/THE TELEGRAM

Premier Dwight Ball speaks to re­porters Mon­day fol­low­ing his an­nounce­ment of a cab­i­net shuf­fle.

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