(Alberta Premier Rachel Notley is sworn in as the province’s 17th premier Sunday. Photo APTN/Brandi Morin
APTN National News
EDMONTON — Rachel Notley was sworn in as the 17th premier of Alberta Sunday afternoon in Edmonton. The New Democratic Party formed a majority government earlier this month in a historic election that ended the 43 year Progressive Conservative dynasty.
During her campaign, Notley committed to take seriously the government’s relationship with Alberta’s Aboriginal peoples.
She assured Aboriginal voters that she would address several on-going issues and pledged to make the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples law.
The swearing-in ceremony included Aboriginal content, opening with a blessing from Metis Elder John Macdonald followed by an honour song performed by Rocky Morin from Enoch Cree Nation.
In her speech, Notley announced a new era was unfolding for all Albertans including First Nations.
“And we know that our future is brighter when First Nations can control their destiny and can trust a true partner in government to build a new relationship of respect,” she said.
“My friends, it is springtime in Alberta and a fresh wind is blowing.” Alberta Premier Rachel Notley
Speaking from the steps of the Alberta Legislature. Notley announced her 11 cabinet ministers calling them a “lean and efficient” team designed to “get down to work and to deliver results.”
“The new members of your legislative assembly embody hope and optimism and they bring rich and diverse experience of Alberta life to this building,” said Notley.
Calgary-Buffalo MLA Kathleen Ganley will serve as the new Aboriginal Relations minister while simultaneously serving as Minister of Justice and Solicitor General.
Ganley, a rookie politician and former lawyer specializing in labour and employment law, holds a Bachelor of Sciences in Psychology, a Bachelor of Arts in Philosophy and a Juris Doctor from the University of Calgary.
Ganley has little experience working with Aboriginal communities but said she is looking forward to her new role.
“We’re incredibly excited to get started and I think there’s going to be a lot to learn in the next little while,” said Ganley.
Alexis Nakota Sioux Chief Tony Alexis attended the ceremony and congratulated Ganley.
“I want to wish Kathleen well and we (First Nations) look forward to working with her,” said Alexis.
“We look forward to building some new bridges and some new opportunities for First Nations people.” Alexis Nakota Sioux Chief Tony Alexis
“It’s an opportunity to start new ground as the Premier mentioned, it’s a new beginning. We look forward to building some new bridges and some new opportunities for First Nations people are going to be at the table in a very positive way.”
To the cheers and the chants of about 10,000 people who gathered to witness the ceremony, Notley called the day a historic joining together of Albertan’s in pursuit of a common dream.
“The same dream that has inspired generations of Albertans, a dream founded on the idea that change is possible and that a better future awaits. My friends, it is spring time in Alberta and a fresh wind is blowing,” she ended.