Above: Premier Notley welcomes new cabinet ministers L:R: Shaye Anderson, Minister of Municipal Affairs, Premier Rachel Notley, Danielle Larivee, Minister of Children’s Services, and Irfan Sabir, Minister of Community and Social Services. – Government of Alberta Photo

by Morinville News Staff

The NDP government is citing a focus on creating a child protection and intervention system that serves the needs of Alberta children and families as the motivation behind a small cabinet shuffle Thursday.

Three NDP ministers were sworn into new roles at Government House in Edmonton Jan. 19.

Former Minister of Municipal Affairs Danielle Larivee will serve as Minister of Children’s Services, a ministry accountable for the protection of children.

Leduc-Beaumont MLA Shaye Anderson will now serve as Minister of Municipal Affairs, joining Minister Larivee on the Municipal Governance Committee.

Human Services will be renamed “Community and Social Services” and will continue to be led by Minister Irfan Sabir, MLA for Calgary-McCall.

“All children deserve to be safe, secure and happy. We want to support our most vulnerable children and ensure they never go to bed hungry or scared,” said Premier Rachel Notley in a release Thursday. “Today’s announcement means we will have more resources and more attention dedicated to taking care of our children and our communities. Minister Larivee will provide thoughtful, compassionate leadership as she works to fix our child intervention system. Minister Sabir will continue with the very capable leadership he provides to his ministry, which has been suitably renamed “Community and Social Services.” I welcome Shaye Anderson to the cabinet table; I know his ample community engagement experience and enthusiasm for rural Alberta will ensure his success as he navigates his new role.”

The Honourable Lois Mitchell administered the oaths of office.

The Wildrose took the shuffle as an opportunity to criticize the government in general, and Sabir in particular, a minister they felt should have stepped down last year after documents relating to the death of a four-year-old girl in provincial care were not quickly turned over to the RCMP.

“While it’s positive to see the government finally addressing the dysfunction in the human services department, I’m extremely disappointed to see Mr. Sabir continuing in a Cabinet role,” said Wildrose Leader Brian Jean said. “This NDP government still isn’t listening to Albertans who clearly wanted to see this Minister removed from Cabinet entirely.”

Jean went on to say while he had serious doubts about Sabir’s abilities to make positive changes, he would do all he could to help with improvements to the province’s child intervention system.

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