10/20/2012 09:16 EDT | Updated 12/20/2012 05:12 EST

Dunderdale shuffles the deck

Kathy Dunderdale had a big shakeup of her cabinet Friday, although no new faces were added to the mix.

The premier of Newfoundland and Labrador shuffled nine of her 15 ministers, and added a new office.

It's the first change since last year's provincial election, and Dunderdale said she's used that time to reflect on her cabinet.

"I've been able to see how everyone is performing in the different portfolios," she said.

"[I looked] at the team all around me, what we've done so far, where we're going over the next year or so, and saw strengths that were probably better able to be used in a different way, in different departments, and thought it was a good time for a change."

Several big names are keeping their portfolios, including Finance Minister Tom Marshall and Natural Resources Minister Jerome Kennedy, who will stay on the front benches for the upcoming house debate on Muskrat Falls.

Some ministers have moved laterally, others have been promoted, and two who are not expected to run again have been moved to lesser positions.

Change to fisheries portfolio

At a time when the government is struggling with an OCI proposal to keep processing jobs in Fortune, the fisheries portfolio has changed hands from Darin King to former Tourism, Culture and Recreation Minister Derrick Dalley.

Dunderdale said given the situation they're in, she's unsure if there's going to be a successful conclusion to the OCI talks.

"[King] has made a very valiant effort to bring the parties together, and I think [that] demonstrates very clearly what we have been saying for the last year: how very difficult it is to get people at the table with a common purpose on fisheries issues," she said.

"He has certainly worked diligently at that, but it was time for a move, and we'll bring another set of hands and shoulders to the portfolio."

King has been promoted to justice minister, and is the new Tory house leader.

Ministers demoted

Former Transportation Minister Tom Hedderson and former Justice Minister Felix Collins are not expected to run in the next election. Hedderson is taking over the environment portfolio, while Collins moves to intergovernmental and aboriginal affairs.

Dunderdale said the reshuffling of Collins' post was not connected to Bill 29, the controversial privacy law.

"I have no issues in terms of what Minister Collins did when he was minister of justice -- none at all," she said.

"[Bill 29] is a good piece of legislation that will serve the people of this province well."

New post

One new position was created: the Office Responsible for Public Engagement. Ferryland MHA Keith Hutchings will take on that role, in addition to his post as minister of innovation, business and rural development. He was also named deputy house leader.

Dunderdale said the new office will bring together different departments to aid in communications efforts.

"It's a two-way street in that portfolio. It's a great way for us to talk to seniors, to volunteers, to youth, to labour, to business, [and] to community about what's important to them and where they think we ought to be going," she said.

"And it's a great way for us to be very proactive in information about policy and programs and directions, and make that information available not only through those particular forums, but through ATIP as well."

Meanwhile, Paul Davis makes the move from Service Newfoundland and Labrador to minister of transportation and works, and Terry French leaves his environment post for a return to tourism, culture and recreation. Marshall will also add attorney general to his title.

Nick McGrath will take over Davis's post, leaving his previous position of minister of intergovernmental and aboriginal affairs. He will maintain his role as the minister responsible for Labrador Affairs.