Tough les­son

Premier shuf­fles Hal Perry out, promotes Tina Mundy and Robert Hen­der­son

The Guardian (Charlottetown) - - FRONT PAGE - BY TERESA WRIGHT

Hal Perry is no longer P.E.I.’s min­is­ter of ed­u­ca­tion as part of a cab­i­net shuf­fle Thurs­day at Gov­ern­ment House.

Perry was the only min­is­ter to be shuf­fled out. Doug Cur­rie has re­placed him as min­is­ter of Ed­u­ca­tion, Early Learn­ing and Cul­ture.

Premier Wade MacLauch­lan firmly de­nied any sug­ges­tion Perry was re­moved out of con­cern over his per­for­mance in cab­i­net.

“You’re al­ways work­ing with the fit and the team to go for­ward. In the case of Min­is­ter Perry, what I’ve said and I say with all sin­cer­ity, we ap­pre­ci­ate his lead­er­ship,” MacLauch­lan said. “He’s been through two leg­isla­tive ses­sions… and, in fact, has been the fo­cus of much of the at­ten­tion and he has led the struc­tural changes in ed­u­ca­tional gov­er­nance. I ab­so­lutely ap­pre­ci­ate the work that he has done in lead­ing that work.”

The premier noted ed­u­ca­tion is un­der­go­ing ma­jor struc­tural changes and that Cur­rie has been pro­vided with a man­date let­ter that has been “sub­stan­tially re­vised” from the let­ter pro­vided to Perry last May.

Cur­rie, who for­merly led both Health and Well­ness and Fam­ily and Hu­man Ser­vices, has been re­placed by two re­turn­ing faces to MacLauch­lan’s cab­i­net.

O’Leary-In­ver­ness MLA Robert Hen­der­son, who served as tourism min­is­ter un­der Robert Ghiz’s ad­min­is­tra­tion and briefly un­der MacLauch­lan’s lead­er­ship be­fore the spring elec­tion was called, is now the prov­ince’s min­is­ter of Health and Well­ness.

He ad­mits he was “shocked” when he got the call from the premier Wed­nes­day.

“I really didn’t ex­pect it. I wasn’t hear­ing any is­sues of shuf­fles or any­thing of that na­ture.”

When he first an­swered the phone, he thought it was bad news. He thought it would be to can­cel a trip to Colorado he was sched­uled to take as the mem­ber of the leg­isla­tive Stand­ing Com­mit­tee on Agri­cul­ture.

“I was kind of sur­prised to get ap­pointed to an ex­ec­u­tive coun­cil po­si­tion.”

Hen­der­son has been on the Lib­eral back­bench since the provin­cial elec­tion and told The Guardian last fall he did not be­lieve he would ever be back in cab­i­net. Also re­turn­ing to cab­i­net from the back­bench is Summerside-St. Eleanors MLA Tina Mundy, who has been sworn in as min­is­ter of Fam­ily and Hu­man Ser­vices.

Mundy was orig­i­nally named to cab­i­net af­ter MacLauch­lan’s Lib­er­als won the May 4 elec­tion, but was re­moved one day later over a per­sonal fi­nan­cial mat­ter.

MacLauch­lan says this has since been re­solved and says he wel­comes her re­turn to his cab­i­net ta­ble.

“As a sin­gle mom, I’ve been work­ing through fi­nan­cial is­sues for many, many years,” Mundy told re­porters.

“I had to take a step back in May and ad­dress those is­sues and with the sup­port of the premier, with the sup­port of my fam­ily and with the sup­port of hun­dreds, if not thou­sands, of Is­lan­ders I was able to ad­dress those chal­lenges and so now I’m go­ing to move for­ward.”

This marks MacLauch­lan’s fourth cab­i­net swear­ing-in since first tak­ing of­fice last Fe­bru­ary, af­ter the res­ig­na­tion of for­mer premier Robert Ghiz.

Thurs­day’s cab­i­net shuf­fle also comes just seven months af­ter the provin­cial elec­tion and in­creases the size of cab­i­net by one to a to­tal of 10, in­clud­ing the premier. MacLauch­lan says he felt the be­gin­ning of a new year was a good time to re­fresh his ex­ec­u­tive coun­cil.

“We’re look­ing at our first op­por­tu­nity to have 12 months to work to­gether, we’ll have a couple of leg­isla­tive ses­sions, we have a large pol­icy agenda to de­velop and bring for­ward to the house,” MacLauch­lan said.

“As we look at the econ­omy of Canada and the world on a dayby-day ba­sis, we can see there are large chal­lenges for the gov­ern­ment and, frankly, for the peo­ple to see that we as a gov­ern­ment have a plan go­ing for­ward into th­ese 12 months and that we have the team that’s go­ing to do that work.”

But Op­po­si­tion Leader Jamie Fox says the mul­ti­ple changes to MacLauch­lan’s cab­i­net within the last year re­flect what he be­lieves is “dis­ar­ray” in gov­ern­ment.

Fox also noted this lat­est shuf­fle grows the size of cab­i­net at a time when some pro­grams and ser­vices are be­ing cut.

HEATHER TAWEEL/THE GUARDIAN

Premier Wade MacLauch­lan sur­prised many by shuf­fling his cab­i­net on Thurs­day. Hal Perry was turfed from cab­i­net. Two new faces were added, Tina Mundy and Robert Hen­der­son. From left is MacLauch­lan’s new cab­i­net, Allen Roach, Paula Big­gar, Robert Mitchell, Robert Hen­der­son, Wade MacLauch­lan, Alan McIsaac, Doug Cur­rie, Tina Mundy, Heath MacDonald, Richard Brown.

GUARDIAN PHOTO

Health and Well­ness Min­is­ter Robert Hen­der­son pre­pares to sign the oath of of­fice with Lt.-Gov. Frank Lewis.

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