New N.L. premier, new finance minister: Andrew Furey takes office and shuffles cabinet
Andrew Furey has been sworn in as the 14th premier of Newfoundland and Labrador, at a time when the province faces one of its worst fiscal challenges with a near-record deficit of $2.1 billion this year caused largely by plummeting oil prices and the pandemic.
Following a short swearing-in ceremony in St. John's on Wednesday morning, Furey unveiled his cabinet, making major ministerial changes for a fresh start to tackle the formidable financial problems facing the province.
Furey named his cabinet ministers, most notably appointing Siobhan Coady as his deputy premier and finance minister. Coady will now oversee the next provincial budget, promised in September after being put off for months due to the pandemic. Tom Osborne, previously the finance minister, was named education minister
Furey signalled that his government's priorities will be attracting newcomers, building a burgeoning tech sector and building relationships with Indigenous communities. Gerry Byrne was named immigration, skills and labour minister, while Andrew Parsons is the new industry, technology and energy minister. Lisa Dempster is the new minister of Indigenous affairs and reconciliation and is taking on the status of women and Labrador affairs portfolios. Steve Croker will take over as justice minister, replacing Andrew Parsons.
Notably absent among the ministers was Christopher Mitchelmore, who came under fire during his time in former premier Dwight Ball's cabinet for his involvement in a controversial hiring of Carla Foote at the provincial cultural institution The Rooms, thereby triggering an investigation that resulted in the Mitchelmore Report.
John Haggie, who remains health minister and has been navigating the pandemic to largely positive reviews.
There are three new faces in cabinet as well: Derek Bennett becomes the minister of environment, climate change and municipalities; Elvis Loveless was named minister of fisheries, forestry and Agriculture; and Sarah Stoodley is now in charge of digital government and Service NL.
In total, Furey has 13 ministers in his cabinet.