If a major cabinet shuffle in Saskatchewan's political world could ever be described as non-confrontational last Friday's move by Premier Brad Wall probably came the closest.
While the half dozen who were dropped from the front ranks might not classify the shuffle as a vanilla movement, the general population will probably rate the changes as just that. It was an opportunity for Wall to reshuffle the governing lawn chairs so that a few others might get a better view of Saskatchewan's political landscape.
Detractors may not appreciate the formation of mini-ministries within larger ministries such as energy and resources being enveloped by the mega-portfolio of the Ministry of the Economy, or rural and remote health trying to find a place in the sun under the Ministry of Health umbrella, but overall, there is little to criticize.
Of course that could all change with new faces in the crowd.
Wall won't have anything to fear by sticking with the tried and true loyalists like Ken Krawetz, Ken Cheveldayoff, Don Morgan, June Draude and Bill Boyd. They toe the party line diligently. They may not be as much fun as veteran Bob Bjornerud was during his tenure as agriculture minister, but Wall will be able to count on them when the tough decisions are required.
Newcomers to cabinet like Russ Marchuk in the significant education portfolio might prove interesting, but don't expect any boat rocking there either. The background check doesn't indicate much rebelliousness.
Other new faces in the cabinet ... names that were predicted well before their appointment include Gord Wyant in Justice (attorney general) and Kevin Doherty for Parks, Culture and Sport and the newly named Capital Commission which apparently is just another moniker for government services.
Weyburn-Big Muddy's Dustin Duncan receives another promotion to the beleaguered Health Ministry, which we noted earlier will embrace the newly created Rural and Remote Health Ministry which will be under the guiding hand of new cabinet minister Randy Weekes. This might possibly mean having to wade through two levels of bureaucrats to get to a decision regarding such things as a CT scanner for Estevan.
We have to trust that Wall and his planners knew what they were doing when they put ministries within ministries. Naturally they are painting the picture that they will be better able to serve us with these double-layered offices, but our healthy cynicism leads us down a path that suggests adding another layer to bureaucracy only lends itself to more opaqueness, not transparency. But in the spirit of co-operation, we'll attempt to adopt a wait-and-see attitude. Mind you, that hasn't helped us much in the attempt to get a CT scanner, a twinned highway project or a truck bypass in the past. But maybe, just maybe, things might start to roll in southeast Saskatchewan.
Former Energy and Resources Minister Boyd gets to run the super Economy Ministry which embraces not only energy and resources but also the former enterprise portfolio (remember it?), innovation, tourism (remember how it used to be operated independently?), employment, immigration and trade. Again, can sub-minister Tim McMillen in Energy and Resources jump over Boyd and run his ship with authority? Or, will he need to submit the oilpatch and potash decisions for Boyd's team scrutiny first?
With the exception of these two super ministries with sub-ministries, we have to look at last week's cabinet reconfiguration as a healthy exercise in getting more ideas and thinkers into the game.