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Brian Gallant, right, is sworn in as New Brunswick’s 33rd premier by Lt.-Gov. Graydon Nicholas, left, on Tuesday.

Andrew Vaughan/The Canadian Press

New Brunswick's new premier is leaning on some of his most senior caucus members to handle a number of controversial files, including shale gas fracking and access to abortion.

Brian Gallant and the other 12 members of his cabinet were sworn in Tuesday, two weeks after the Liberals ousted the Progressive Conservatives from power.

Among those appointed are Denis Landry, who becomes the Minister of Natural Resources, Energy and Mines Minister Donald Arseneault and Victor Boudreau, who takes over health. All three have cabinet experience.

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Mr. Boudreau's assignment will include the contentious debate surrounding abortion access, an issue that has been flaring since the closure of the Morgentaler Clinic in Fredericton in July. The clinic was the only private facility that offered the procedure in the province.

The government has already faced calls to repeal a regulation that requires women who are seeking a publicly funded abortion to have two doctors certify it is medically necessary before having the procedure done at one of two approved hospitals.

Mr. Gallant, who has said Regulation 84-20 is a barrier for women, called for patience as he wants to study the issue further.

"If New Brunswickers can be a bit patient and give us a chance to get our feet under us as a government, they'll see that we'll do it swiftly," Mr. Gallant said Tuesday.

But patience is wearing thin among some. A group called Reproductive Justice NB issued a statement Monday night saying while it was pleased that Mr. Gallant appears to be committed to eliminating barriers to abortion access, his government should immediately remove Regulation 84-20, a regulation it said was a barrier that needs no review.

Mr. Gallant also faces the prospect of having to bridge clashing beliefs on abortion access within his own cabinet. Bill Fraser, an opponent of abortion, was named tourism minister Tuesday.

No cabinet ministers were made available to comment after they were sworn in.

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Mr. Gallant has also promised to implement a moratorium on fracking until more is known about the health and environmental risks associated with the practice. He said Tuesday he'll look to other provinces as well as the United States for guidance.

Aside from his role as premier, Mr. Gallant is taking on a number of other duties, including minister responsible for women's equality.

When asked why, he said it was because not enough women were elected in his caucus. Of the 27 Liberals were elected, four are women, with two making it into cabinet.

Mr. Gallant said his government needs to work on getting more women elected.

"I believe that taking on women's equality in the premier's office shows that it's going to be something that will be at the forefront of our government," he said.

Roger Melanson, a former finance critic, is the new Minister of Finance, with the added role of Minister of Transportation and Infrastructure.

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Mr. Gallant, whose platform is founded on a promise to spend $900-million over the next six years on infrastructure projects as a way to create jobs, said it made sense to combine those portfolios.

"When you have a minister of finance who will also be on the other hand making investments to grow our economy and create jobs … that when they're going to invest dollars – they're going to do it for the right reasons."

There are 13 ministers in Mr. Gallant's cabinet, including himself. That's down from the 18 ministers in the previous Progressive Conservative government.

The Tories have 21 seats while the Greens have one member elected, a first for the party.

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