Furey shuffles the cards in NL. : Haggie to Education, Osborne to Health

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Furey shuffles the cards in NL: Haggie on education, Osborne on health

Tom Osborne (left) becomes Minister of Health. He now holds the position of John Haggie (back), who obtains Education.

In Newfoundland and Labrador, Premier Andrew Furey is reshuffling his cabinet. John Haggie, Minister of Health for about seven years, becomes Minister of Education. He inherits the functions of Tom Osborne, who is going to Health.

This is an opportune time to do so, during the summer. […] It will revitalize these two departments and these two ministers, and I am sure that they are ready to take up this new challenge, affirmed Andrew Furey after the swearing-in ceremony at the residence of the lieutenant-governor, Wednesday, in Saint -John.

Andrew Furey indicates that John Haggie and Tom Osborne did not ask to change positions. He adds that the decision is unrelated to recent criticisms of the health care system and access to services.

When you are Minister of Health, you is busy every day of the year. It's a big challenge […] and I think it's the perfect time to try something new, says John Haggie, appointed by Dwight Ball in 2015, who led the Ministry of Health during the COVID-19 pandemic and the fall 2021 cyberattack that shook the hospital network.

John Haggie served as Newfoundland and Labrador's Minister of Health for 82 months.

[I have held this position for] 82 months. You have to go back to 1967 to find a minister of health who has worked longer than me, he says. Former Liberal cabinet minister James McGrath led the department between 1956 and 1967.

Tom Osborne previously served as health minister – for 10 months in 2006 and 2007 – when he was Progressive Conservative MP and member of Danny Williams' government. Mr. Osborne has been an MPP since 1996.

Health has always been a difficult file to manage and it has gotten worse with COVID-19, he says . Our two ministries have the most impact on the daily lives of residents of the province.

Newfoundland and Labrador Premier Andrew Furey (left) reshuffled his cabinet on Wednesday.

Minister John Haggie will have to address several hot issues: the first start of the school year since the lifting of health restrictions, the funding and infrastructure of Memorial University and the implementation of a $10 a day child care program.

For his part, Minister Tom Osborne inherits an understaffed health care system. About a quarter of Newfoundland and Labrador residents do not have a family doctor, according to the provincial medical association.

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