Former health minister Diane Thom says Julie Green is “the best fit” to take on her previous portfolio.
In a September 4 cabinet shuffle that followed Katrina Nokleby’s eviction from cabinet, Green, Nokleby’s replacement, was given the Department of Health and Social Services while Thom moved to infrastructure.
“I asked to be the health minister. I have a lot of knowledge about health,” said Green at a news conference. She added she doesn’t have “all the formal education in health” but has “been in health a long time.”
Green has been a member of the legislature’s standing committee on social development. She worked for the YWCA NWT before entering politics.
When asked about the decision to place a new minister in charge of health in the midst of a pandemic, Premier Caroline Cochrane said Green is “not new to the health field and not new to the assembly,” having already served a full term as an MLA.
Cochrane herself will head the new Covid-19 Coordinating Secretariat, effectively a miniature department convened to centralize the territory’s pandemic response.
“Although they are ultimately my decisions, they were done in consultation with all cabinet members,” explained Cochrane of the revised portfolio assignments.
“We sat around for a morning and we hashed it out. We talked about what our strengths were, what our interests were, and where the best fits were.
“If two or three ministers wanted one portfolio then they had to make those tough decisions, and they had to talk and decide why they were the best. So, I think it was very collaborative process.”
Cochrane said moving forward from the cabinet shuffle, “there’s no more excuses that we’re all new in our portfolios” because all members have now been in cabinet for a year – with the exception of Green, who, she joked, will get “a few more months before we actually tell her no more excuses.”