EDMONTON — Former federal cabinet minister Jason Kenney was officially sworn in on Tuesday as Alberta’s premier and he repeated his campaign promise to bring renewed economic prosperity to the province.
“We will focus relentlessly on creating good jobs, growing the economy and building pipelines — west, east and south — to get our products to market,” he said after the official ceremony at Government House in Edmonton.
“We have many more commitments to keep — 375 to be precise —and we are eager to get to work today.”
The United Conservative leader becomes the 18th person to head the province’s government.
Kenney has also taken on the role of intergovernment relations in what is expected to be a battle with the federal government over the carbon tax as well as proposed legislation that would ban heavy oil tankers and change how projects are environmentally assessed.
The new premier appointed 19 others to cabinet, including seven women, and also named three associate ministers.
“This is a young, diverse, energetic cabinet,” he said. “I believe that amongst us 13 languages can be spoken. We have farmers, tradesmen, oil and gas experts, small business owners, academics, a musician, public servants and teachers. We even have some lawyers.”
Travis Toews, a rookie member of the legislature from Grande Prairie-Wapiti, is the new finance minister. He was a chartered accountant and rancher before getting into politics.
Calgary lawyer Doug Schweitzer, who ran against Kenney for the UCP leadership, is the new minister of justice.
Veteran legislature members Ric McIver and Jason Nixon have also been given cabinet posts — McIver in transportation and Nixon in the key environment and parks portfolio.
Calgary lawyer Sonya Savage is the new energy minister and Red Deer Catholic school trustee Adriana Lagrange is the new education minister.
Kenney’s UCP defeated the New Democrats in the provincial election April 16 when the party won 63 seats to the NDP’s 24.
Former premier Rachel Notley has promised to stay on as Opposition leader and will have an experienced caucus that includes 12 former cabinet ministers.
A new session of the legislature is to begin May 21.