Moves Susan Sullivan out of Health portfolio
It came as a surprise Thursday when Premier Tom Marshall announced a significant cabinet shuffle just a few days before heading back into the House of Assembly.
Premier Tom Marshall shuffled his cabinet today. — Photo by Keith Gosse/The Telegram
Ostensibly, the reason for the shuffle was just change for the sake of change. Marshall said he believes government functions best when cabinet ministers get moved around frequently.
“We shouldn’t leave ministers in a department for too long a period of time,” he said. “I think it’s good to bring a fresh perspective, and that’s what I wanted to do.”
Terry French goes to the Department of Justice from Tourism and Culture.
Terra Nova MHA Sandy Collins is a new face in cabinet, picking up the Tourism and Culture portfolio.
Darin King moves from the Justice portfolio to Education.
Clyde Jackman moves from Education to the Department of Child, Youth and Family Services.
Paul Davis left Child, Youth and Family Services to take on the Department of Health.
And in the most significant move, Susan Sullivan left the Department of Health after more than two years at the helm, to take on the role of minister of Innovation, Business and Rural Development.
Marshall downplayed the significance of moving Sullivan, but it comes amidst a perceived disagreement over whether the new Corner Brook hospital should include radiation therapy services.
For years, Sullivan has insisted that the numbers don’t justify radiation in Corner Brook, but recently Marshall has said the government is looking at including it in the new hospital plans.
“In terms of what’s going in the hospital in Corner Brook, the Department of Health has done an outstanding job in making determination of the services that should go there, what the population is going to be — looking at it now and projecting down the road,” Marshall said.
“It’s a work in progress. You know, new information comes. So there’s not necessarily a difference of agreement, it’s just that new information came to our attention.”
But Liberal MHA Eddie Joyce, who’s been the most vocal champion of additional services for the Corner Brook hospital, said he believes Sullivan was sacked because she disagreed with the premier.
“She always portrayed lowball numbers, and sometimes wrong numbers,” he said. “The numbers that Susan Sullivan was presenting to Tom Marshall and Frank Coleman were not accurate, and absolutely no doubt Susan Sullivan was embarrassed by all of this, and no doubt Tom Marshall lost confidence in Susan Sullivan.”
With the House of Assembly scheduled to open on Monday to pass the budget and deal with the rest of the government’s spring legislative agenda, the six newly shuffled ministers have a busy weekend ahead of them, reading briefing books and getting ready for question period.
Marshall told reporters that he’d been thinking about a cabinet shuffle for at least a month and a half, but he was only getting around to it now.
He said he didn’t ask for advice from premier-designate Frank Coleman before he made the moves, but as a courtesy, the two men talked prior to the announcement.
“Mr. Coleman and I had a chat after he became leader,” Marshall said. “And he told me that constitutionally I was the premier and I should continue to act like one.”
Marshall shuffles his cabinet
Cabinet increases by one member as a result
Just days before he heads back into the House of Assembly, Premier Tom Marshall shuffled his cabinet.
It was a massive change just before the legislature re-opens, and it added one new cabinet position.
Paul Davis was moved to the Department of Health.
Terry French went to the Department of Justice.
Darin King was moved to the Department of Education.
Susan Sullivan went to innovation, business and rural development.
Clyde Jackman is going to Child, Youth and Family Services.
Terra Nova MHA Sandy Collins was brought into cabinet as Minister of Tourism and Culture.
On Monday, politicians are supposed to head back into the legislature to pass the budget and finish the spring legislative agenda.