Redford issues mandates for associate ministers

By Karen Kleiss, June 21, 2012

EDMONTON – Premier Alison Redford has asked the province’s seven new associate ministers to develop transparency legislation, reduce the number of children born with fetal alcohol spectrum disorder, and find new ways to borrow money for capital spending.

They will also review Alberta’s international offices, establish a council to look at municipal financing and implement $500 tax credits for children and seniors who engage in physical activity.

In the past, Redford has written a mandate letter for each minister in her cabinet, this time she has issued letters for each associate minister and a single “cabinet mandate” for the ministers.

“There are a few critical areas where special attention, discipline and effort are required to drive meaningful change and results,” Redford wrote in the cabinet mandate. “The success of this government and cabinet will be evaluated on the basis of our collective progress in delivering on the following priority initiatives.”

The priorities Redford listed include early childhood development, primary health care, education and entrepreneurship, fiscal framework, resources and market access.

The mandate letters were dated June 4, and were released by the premier’s office on June 21.

Redford last issued individual letters to ministers on Nov. 3, shortly after taking office. The Nov. 3 letters have been removed from government websites.

Redford again trumpeted her government’s commitment to transparency in her cabinet mandate, and asked Accountability and Transparency Associate Minister Don Scott to recommend changes to Alberta’s access and privacy, and to develop transparency legislation for Alberta.

Scott will be responsible for writing Alberta’s new whistleblower law and said Thursday he plans to review every major piece of legislation with a view to increasing government transparency.

“It’s always a balancing act,” Scott said. “So you’re always balancing the need to get more information into the public (domain) and the need to protect certain interests.”

Redford has also asked associate finance minister Kyle Fawcett to review “opportunities to borrow for capital expenditures.”

“This isn’t a significant departure from where we’ve been,” Fawcett said. “In 2009 there was some borrowing for capital purposes in that fiscal plan. There were bonds issued to build seniors facilities. We have in the past utilized P3 projects for both the ring roads and schools.

“We need to evaluate whether those were appropriate and what kind of value they provided us.”

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