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Beaulieu pulled from health file
Premier shuffles cabinet half-way through term; Beaulieu picks up transportation, human resources and public works

Laura Busch
Northern News Services
Updated: Friday, November 1, 2013


Tom Beaulieu, who has been drawing criticism in the legislature for his department's response to mental health and addictions issues, was shuffled off of his assignment as minister of Health and Social Services on Wednesday.

Yellowknife MLA Glen Abernethy took over the file, effective Thursday.

NNSL photo/graphic

From left: Minister Glen Abernethy assumes responsibility for the Department of Health and Social Services, Seniors, and Persons with Disabilities. Minister David Ramsay assumes responsibility for the Department of Justice and the Public Utilities Board. He continues as minister of Industry, Tourism and Investment. - NNSL file photos

Historically, the health file has been one of the toughest for ministers to handle. Health and Social Services receives the most money of any department, with a $363.8 million operating budget for 2013-14, and is tasked with tackling two of the largest social issues in the territory - addictions and mental health.

"This is the toughest portfolio you could possibly have," said Weledeh MLA Bob Bromley.

"It has a history of the most turnover for that reason, because it's an impossible job. It's also the most critical and there is never enough money. So, I think health ministers probably do their best work in the early parts of their term because it's so demanding - it must drain them."

Abernethy took to Twitter shortly after the cabinet shuffle was announced Wednesday night.

"Very excited to be taking on a new role as minister of Health & Social Services," he tweeted. "I'll miss (the Department of Justice), (Public Works and Services), (the Public Utilities Board) and (Human Resources) but am excited."

Beaulieu will take over the Department of Transportation from David Ramsay, who will retain Industry, Tourism and Investment and pick up the Department of Justice and Public Utilities Board portfolios.

Robert C. McLeod is receiving a new portfolio in addition to the four he currently manages - the Department of Lands. This appointment will be delayed until April 1, 2014, when devolution will create the new department within the GNWT.

Jackson Lafferty and Michael Miltenberger, as well as Premier Bob McLeod, did not change portfolio assignments in the shuffle.

"As we prepare for the next two years and the new responsibilities we will be assuming from Canada, we have an opportunity to capitalize on our past successes and to refocus our energies for the task ahead," stated Premier Bob McLeod in a news release announcing the shuffle.

The Shuffle

  • Minister David Ramsay: Industry, Tourism and Investment, Department of Justice* and the Public Utilities Board*.
  • Minister Tom Beaulieu: Department of Transportation*, Human Resources* and Public Works and Services*.
  • Minister Glen Abernethy: Department of Health and Social Services*, Seniors* and Persons with Disabilities*.
  • Minister Robert C. McLeod: Department of Lands**, Minister Responsible for the NWT Housing Corporation, Municipal and Community Affairs, Homelessness and Youth.
  • Minister Jackson Lafferty: Department of Education, Culture and Employment; and the Worker's Safety and Compensation Commission.
  • Minister Michael Miltenberger: Department of Finance, Chairman of the Financial Management Board, Department of Environment and Natural Resources, the NWT Power Corporation and Government House Leader.
  • Premier Bob McLeod: Department of Executive, Aboriginal Affairs and Intergovernmental Relations, Women, and New Energy Initiatives.

* Indicates a new portfolio assignment.
** The Department of Lands portfolio becomes effective on April 1, 2014.

Source: GNWT Office of the Premier

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