The MHA for Trinity-Bay de Verde Charlene Johnson will be the first female to run the finance portfolio for the province of Newfoundland and Labrador since 2001.
She joins the department just prior to the beginning of government budget discussions for 2014. The governing Tories are currently consulting with stakeholders on what they would like to see in the budget, which will be announced when the house reopens this spring.
In an interview with The Compass last week, Johnson was not anticipating a jump to finance, but said she would welcome any portfolio that could be offered to her by the new premier.
There are a number of high profile departments Johnson has been responsible for since 2007, when she was appointed Minister of Environment and Conservation. She was named Minister of Child, Youth and Family Services in 2011 and held that portfolio until October 2013 when she was named Minister of Innovation, Business and Rural Development. During her time as CYFS minister, she was also the Minister responsible for the Status of Women.
Other positions in her repertoire include the Minister responsible for the Office of Public Engagement and the Research and Development Corporation.
Johnson has also been named the president of the Treasury Board and Minister responsible for the Human Resource Secretariat, the Public Service Commission and the Newfoundland and Labrador Liquor Corporation.
Johnson’s first big step into a leadership role was being named Parliamentary Secretary to the Department of Natural Resources in 2006 — a department headed by former premier Kathy Dunderdale, her mentor.
In 2003, Johnson was the youngest female to get elected to the provincial government.
Other changes to the cabinet include MHA Terry French being named Minister of Innovation, Business and Rural Development and the Minister responsible for the Research and Development Corporation. He will still remain the Minister of Tourism, Culture and Recreation. Felix Collins will take on the role of Attorney General. And MHA Steve Kent will take on the additional role of Minister responsible for the Office of Public Engagement, on top of his positions as Minister of Municipal and Intergovernmental Affairs, the Minister responsible for Fire and Emergency Services and Registrar General. Joan Shea is the acting Minister responsible for the Status of Women.