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Trimper out as Speaker; Mitchelmore, Davis swap in cabinet shuffle

From left, Bernard Davis, Christopher Mitchelmore and Perry Trimper at Government House in St. John's after a swearing-in ceremony Friday, after Premier Dwight Ball shuffled his cabinet.
From left, Bernard Davis, Christopher Mitchelmore and Perry Trimper at Government House in St. John's after a swearing-in ceremony Friday, after Premier Dwight Ball shuffled his cabinet. - Joe Gibbons
ST. JOHN'S, N.L. —

Some changes to Premier Dwight Ball's cabinet were announced at a swearing-in ceremony at Government House in St. John's on Friday.

In the unexpected shuffle, Virginia Waters-Pleasantville MHA Bernard Davis replaces St. Barbe-L'Anse aux Meadows MHA Christopher Mitchelmore as minister of Tourism, Culture, Industry and Innovation.

Mitchelmore, meanwhile, has been appointed minister of Advanced Education, Skills and Labour and minister responsible for francophone affairs.

Perry Trimper, MHA from Lake Melville in Labrador and Speaker of the House, is the new minister of Municipal Affairs and Environment, and minister responsible for the Multi-Materials Stewardship Board, and Registrar General.

The shuffle opens up an election of a new Speaker in the midst of a minority government. The Liberals have 20 MHAs, while the Opposition has the other 20. With Trimper, a Liberal, in the Speaker's chair, the Liberals were one vote shy of a majority. If an Opposition MHA were to become the next Speaker, the Liberals' 20 votes would be more than the Opposition's, effectively granting a majority.

Ball says he hasn't spoken with any Opposition member about becoming Speaker yet. 

"Not at all," said Ball. 

"We will leave that to the members of the House of Assembly."

There was no word on who would replace Trimper as Speaker in the House of Assembly. Deputy Speaker Scott Reid will assume the job in the interim. Any sitting MHA can put their name forth for the Speaker election, and whoever gets the most votes will fill the role. The election is expected to take place at the beginning of the next sitting of the House of Assembly, due to start Nov. 4.

Executive council appointments also announced on Friday include Jamie Chippett as deputy minister of Service NL; Sean Dutton as deputy minister of the Department of Transportation and Works; and Tracy King as deputy minister of the Department of Municipal Affairs and Environment.

david.maher@thetelegram.com

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