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Executive Council
October 13, 2010

Premier Announces Changes to Cabinet

The Honourable Danny Williams, Premier of Newfoundland and Labrador, today announced changes to his Cabinet. The new Cabinet Ministers were sworn in today at a ceremony at Government House in St. John�s.

Appointed to Cabinet were:

  • Minister of Municipal Affairs, Minister Responsible for Emergency Preparedness, and Registrar General - The Honourable Kevin O'Brien
  • Minister of Government Services, Minister Responsible for the Government Purchasing Agency - The Honourable Harry Harding

"I welcome these Ministers to their new portfolios, and in particular I welcome Minister Harding as our newest member around the Cabinet table," said Premier Williams. "The experience of these individuals will serve them well in these portfolios and I know they will continue to contribute to our government's vision for Newfoundland and Labrador. I wish them the best in their new roles and thank them for their unwavering commitment to serving the people of the province."

The Premier also announced the following appointment:

  • Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister Responsible for the Forestry and Agrifoods Agency - Steve Kent

"I thank Mr. Kent for enthusiastically accepting this new challenge and wish him well in his new role," added Premier Williams.

See attached backgrounder for additional details.

- 30 -

Media contacts:

Elizabeth Matthews
Director of Communications
Office of the Premier
Andrea Nolan
Press Secretary
Office of the Premier
709-729-4304, 727-0991



The Honourable Kevin O'Brien, The Member for Gander

Kevin O'Brien was sworn in as the Member for the District of Gander on November 12, 2003. Born at Ferryland, where he received his early education, Mr. O�Brien graduated with honours from Baltimore High School. He first moved to Gander District in 1974 to complete his pharmacy internship under the watchful eyes of Albert and Roy Jenkins at Gander Drugs.

Upon his graduation from the School of Pharmacy, he moved to Gander to make it his permanent home. He started his career in pharmacy at Gander Drugs, moving on to Kelways where he worked for 16 years. Mr. O�Brien�s belief in Gander as a viable and growing area was demonstrated in 1995 when he established his own business, O'Brien's Pharmacy and Medical Centre.

During his career, Mr. O�Brien has been elected to the Board of Directors of the ARP pharmacy banner program, where he has served as a director and chaired several committees. He was appointed to the Board of Directors of Medi-Plus Pharmacies, a national pharmacy chain, and served as chair of the board for two years. He was presented with the National Commitment to Community Care Award by the Canadian Pharmaceutical Association.

Mr. O�Brien has also served as director on both the Gander Area Chamber of Commerce and Gander World Wide. Prior to 2003, he served as President of Aero Marine Products Ltd, an aerospace supply company. Mr. O�Brien comes with international experience doing business in several countries. But due to the long-term relationship between Gander and Cubana Airlines, his main focus has been the country of Cuba.

Mr. O'Brien served as Parliamentary Assistant to the Premier from April 6, 2005 to July 5, 2006. He was Minister of Business from July 5, 2006 to October 29, 2007. Mr. O'Brien was appointed Minister of Government Services on October 30, 2007. Mr. O' Brien is married to Rhonda Graham; they have three daughters: Adrianne, Tricia and Taylor.

The Honourable Harry Harding, The Member for Bonavista North

First elected to the House of Assembly in 2002, Harry Harding was re-elected as the Member for Bonavista North in 2003. Originally from Greenspond, he attended Bishop�s College in St. John�s, Gander District Vocational School, and Memorial University. For the past 29 years, Mr. Harding and his wife Abbie have lived in Badger�s Quay. They have two children, Jamie and Patty.

Immediately prior to being elected to the House, Mr. Harding was employed as resource manager with Beothic Fish Processors Ltd. in Valleyfield for 14 years. He has also worked as a town clerk/manager for 15 years with the rural district of Badger�s Quay-Valleyfield-Pool�s Island. He also worked as a payroll clerk/office manager with St. Lawrence Construction at Churchill Falls and Labrador City, as a teacher at Greenspond and Wareham, as a plant worker with Fishery Products International and as a labourer with Fishermen�s Union Trading Company in Greenspond.

Mr. Harding has been very active in community life, having served with distinction as a volunteer in many organizations, including with Lions, Badger�s Quay Fire Department, Cape Freels Development Association and Newfoundland and Labrador Association of Municipal Administrators. Awards he has received include the Melvin Jones Fellow (the highest award from the International Association of Lions Clubs).

On March 14, 2006, he was appointed to serve as the Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Human Resources, Labour and Employment. On January 17, 2007, he was appointed to serve as the Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Fisheries and Aquaculture. On October 30, 2007 he was appointed to serve as the Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister Responsible for the Forestry and Agrifoods Agency.

Steve Kent, The Member for Mount Pearl North

Steve Kent was elected as a Member of the House of Assembly for the District of Mount Pearl North on October 9, 2007.

In September 1997, Mr. Kent became the youngest elected public official in the City of Mount Pearl's history. Receiving a record number of votes, he was elected Deputy Mayor of Mount Pearl. In October 2003, he became Mount Pearl�s eighth Mayor, and he was elected by acclamation in September 2005. He resigned as Mayor on October 30, 2007. During his involvement in local government, he served as Avalon Director on the Board of Directors of the Municipalities Newfoundland and Labrador. He was also an active member of the Atlantic Mayors Congress.

Mr. Kent holds a Bachelor of Business Administration degree and Certificate in Public Administration from Memorial University of Newfoundland, and a Masters in Management degree from McGill University.

In his professional life, for over five years, Mr. Kent served as CEO of Big Brothers Big Sisters of Eastern Newfoundland. He spent two years at Stirling Communications International in the role of Manager of Corporate Development. Early in 2006, he decided to incorporate his own business, The FOCUS Group Inc., and engaged in management and marketing consulting for several firms in both the private and voluntary sectors. He and his wife own FOCUS Driver Training Incorporated, which operates the Young Drivers of Canada centres in Newfoundland.

Mr. Kent has a long history of community involvement. From 1992 to 1996, he was selected as Mount Pearl's Youth of the Year, and was also named Youth Volunteer of the Year on two occasions. He received the national YTV Achievement Award for Public Service in 1996. In December 1999, Maclean's magazine recognized him as one of the top 100 Canadians to watch for in the next century. Currently, in addition to actively supporting many community groups in Paradise and Mount Pearl, he continues to volunteer with Scouts Canada, Rotary, the Knights of Columbus and Junior Achievement.

Mr. Kent was born in Stephenville, and lived in Elizabeth Park in Paradise before moving with his parents to Mount Pearl in 1980. He currently resides in Mount Pearl with his wife, Janet and son, Benjamin.

2010 10 13                                                    11:35 a.m.

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