When the sun sets, the province’s premier-designate will begin calling his Conservative caucus members one by one to notify them who will be in or out of cabinet.
“You have to work with the people that you have and try to find the best fit,” said New Brunswick Progressive Conservative Leader Blaine Higgs.
St. Thomas University political science professor Tom Bateman believes MLA Robert Gauvin, the caucus’ only francophone MLA, stands out.
“The Conservatives really have to [show] New Brunswickers that they represent the whole province: both language communities. So Mr. Gauvin I think is a shoo-in for a senior portfolio or even deputy premier,” said Bateman.
Next up on the watch list is Dominic Cardy, who is being referred to as a “wild card.”
Cardy is the former leader of the New Democrat Party (NDP) and chief of staff to Blaine Higgs during his time as the leader of the official opposition.
“He’s a really strong personality and I think sometimes his instincts are sometimes on the divisive side and Mr. Higgs will want to make sure that Mr. Cardy doesn’t overshadow him on different policy files,” said Bateman.
There won’t be more than 10 people in the cabinet because there’s a rule in place that limits cabinet size to just half the size of the caucus. With multiple portfolios, ministers will have more than one department to oversee.
It’s being predicted that Higgs will have at least two to three women in his cabinet and that career politician Ted Flemming could end up with a role in health or as minister of finance.
“He is a very popular MLA. He’s very good on the camera and he’s got a lot of experience, so he will have a major portfolio,” said Bateman.
And with fracking in the spotlight and representing the Sussex region, Bruce Northrup is a likely candidate for natural resources and development.
Higgs isn’t willing to give up his roster just yet, holding those names close to the chest. That is until at least Friday, when Tory MLAs will be sworn in yet again, this time as government.
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