BC Cabinet Shuffle: Christy Clark Announces New Lineup

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CHRISTY CLARK POLLS BC
(Canadian Press) | CP

B.C. Premier Christy Clark has introduced a new Liberal cabinet, after some ministers announced they would not be running in the May election.

Mike de Jong is the new finance minister, while Don McRae, a former high school teacher, is the new education minister. The two key positions were left open when Kevin Falcon resigned and George Abbott announced he would not be seeking re-election.

De Jong's previous post in health will be covered by Margaret MacDiarmid, a family doctor for more than two decades.

Despite polls showing a steady drop in popular support for the B.C. Liberals, Clark positioned the forced shuffle as a chance to invigorate her government.

"This new cabinet brings a renewed commitment to our priorities," she said in a statement on Wednesday. "That means staying focused on jobs and fiscal discipline and continuing our efforts to make life more affordable for B.C. families."

There are technically five new faces in cabinet, but Moira Stilwell (Social Development), Bill Bennett (Community, Sport and Cultural Development) and Ben Stewart (Citizens' Services and Open Government) all served in Gordon Campbell's cabinet.

Ralph Sultan, who is now Minister of State for Seniors, made it into cabinet for the first time since he was elected in 2001. Norm Letnick is a newcomer to cabinet by taking on Agriculture.

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Stephanie Cadieux takes over as Children and Family Development, which was last held by Mary McNeil who is also not running again.

More than 10 sitting Liberal MLAs have confirmed they're not campaigning next year but veteran Liberals including Shirley Bond and Rich Coleman say they'll be at Clark's side in May.

Opposition NDP Leader Adrian Dix welcomed new ministers to cabinet but raised concerns about the frequency of ministerial changes. He pointed out there have been five community living ministers in two years.

"It shows and reflects on how political instability negatively affects an important area of real services to people," Dix said at a news conference on Wednesday.

FULL LIST OF B.C. CABINET
  • Minister for Energy, Mines and Natural Gas and Minister Responsible for Housing and Deputy Premier - Hon. Rich Coleman
  • Minister of Finance - Hon. Mike de Jong
  • Minister of Aboriginal Relations and Reconciliation - Hon. Ida Chong
  • Minister of Advanced Education, Innovation and Technology and Minister Responsible for Multiculturalism - John Yap
  • Minister of Agriculture - Hon. Norm Letnick
  • Minister of Children and Family Development - Hon. Stephanie Cadieux
  • Minister of Citizens' Services and Open Government - Hon. Ben Stewart
  • Minister of Community, Sport and Cultural Development - Hon. Bill Bennett
  • Minister of Education - Hon. Don McRae
  • Minister of Environment - Hon. Terry Lake
  • Minister of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations - Hon. Steve Thomson
  • Minister of Health - Hon. Margaret MacDiarmid
  • Minister of Jobs, Tourism and Skills Training and Minister Responsible for Labour - Hon. Pat Bell
  • Minister of Justice and Attorney General - Hon. Shirley Bond
  • Minister of Social Development - Hon. Moira Stilwell
  • Minister of Transportation and Infrastructure - Hon. Mary Polak
  • Minister of State for Small Business - Hon. Naomi Yamamoto
  • Minister of State for Seniors - Hon. Ralph Sultan

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