On July 8, 2021 Alberta Premier Jason Kenney announced several changes to cabinet including a new Minister of Culture.
Ron Orr, MLA for Lacombe-Ponoka, will replace Leela Aheer as Minister of Culture and Whitney Issik, MLA for Calgary-Glenmore, becomes the Associate Minister of Status of Women, under the Ministry of Culture and Status of Women. According to the Government press release, the new Minister of Culture will focus on helping Alberta’s arts and culture organizations recover from the negative economic impacts of COVID-19 while implementing an Alberta Identity Strategy that will address recommendation 25 of the Fair Deal Panel to “affirm Alberta’s cultural, economic and political uniqueness in law and government policy.”
Other cabinet changes include:
Rajan Sawhney, MLA for Calgary-North East and currently the Minister of Community and Social Services, becomes the Minister of Transportation. She will deliver on Alberta’s historic Capital Plan investment of $20.3 billion over the next three years, including Alberta’s $1.53-billion investment in Calgary’s Green Line LRT project, which will create 90,000 new jobs.
Tanya Fir, MLA for Calgary-Peigan, becomes Associate Minister of Red Tape Reduction. She will continue to deliver on Alberta’s aggressive efforts to eliminate burdensome regulations, improve small business competitiveness and get Alberta’s economy moving.
Nate Horner, MLA for Drumheller-Stettler, becomes Associate Minister of Rural Economic Development, under the Ministry of Jobs, Economy and Innovation. He will support Minister Doug Schweitzer in making sure Alberta’s Recovery Plan delivers results for rural and remote Alberta communities, working across government on important strategic initiatives such as expanding rural broadband internet and irrigation networks.
Muhammad Yaseen, MLA for Calgary-North, becomes Associate Minister of Immigration and Multiculturalism, under the Ministry of Labour and Immigration. He will work with Minister Jason Copping in rolling out the Alberta Advantage Immigration Program and the Fairness for Newcomers Action Plan. He will also be tasked with reaching out to ethnic and faith communities and working across government to address recent attacks on vulnerable individuals and communities.
Mike Ellis, MLA for Calgary-West and currently the chief government whip, becomes Associate Minister of Mental Health and Addictions. He will continue to implement Alberta’s recovery-oriented systems of care model across the province.
Jason Luan, MLA for Calgary-Foothills and currently the Associate Minister of Mental Health and Addictions, becomes the Minister of Community and Social Services. He will focus on delivering supports for vulnerable Albertans as they emerge from COVID-19, helping to bridge unemployed and underemployed Albertans into good jobs.