The sudden resignation of Finance Minister Cathy Bennett Monday forced Dwight Ball, Premier of Newfoundland and Labrador, to change up his cabinet.
Joining Cabinet are Tom Osborne, MHA for Waterford Valley, who has been appointed as Minister of Finance and President of Treasury Board, Minister Responsible for the Human Resources Secretariat, Minister Responsible for the Public Service Commission, Minister Responsible for the Office of the Chief Information Officer and Minister Responsible for the Newfoundland and Labrador Liquor Corporation and Lisa Dempster, MHA for Cartwright – L’Anse au Clair, who has been appointed to the role of Minister of Children, Seniors and Social Development; Minister Responsible for the Newfoundland and Labrador Housing Corporation and Minister Responsible for the Status of Persons with Disabilities.
Ministers assuming new portfolios are:
- Al Hawkins, Minister of Advanced Education Skills and Labour;
- Gerry Byrne, Minister of Fisheries and Land Resources;
- Steve Crocker, Minister of Transportation and Works;
- Sherry Gambin-Walsh, Minister of Service NL, Minister Responsible for Workplace NL and Minster Responsible for the Government Purchasing Agency;
- Siobhan Coady, Minister of Natural Resources and Minister Responsible for the Status of Women;
- Eddie Joyce, Minister of Municipal Affairs and Environment and Minister Responsible for the Office of Climate Change; and
- Christopher Mitchelmore, Minister of Tourism, Culture, Industry, and Innovation and Minister Responsible for Francophone Affairs.
Gerry Byrne has had a long career in federal politics, having served as the Member of Parliament for Humber -St. Barbe-Baie Verte since 1996. Byrne was re-elected six times to the Parliament of Canada. From 2002 until 2004, Byrne served as the Minister of State for the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency; the youngest cabinet member in Newfoundland and Labrador history. He was parliamentary secretary to several key cabinet members. He has also served in a lead role on a number of influential government standing committees.
Prior to entering politics, Byrne worked as an economic development officer on the Great Northern Peninsula, during which time he was involved in numerous projects from varying segments of the provincial economy, including the renewable and non-renewable resource sectors. He was born and raised in Corner Brook. He completed his post-secondary education at Dalhousie University, receiving a Bachelor of Science degree in biology.