BRITISH COLUMBIA

B.C. NDP To Form Government For The 1st Time In 16 Years

NDP Leader John Horgan's deal with the Greens helped him to form the narrowest of minority governments.

07/18/2017 07:24 EDT | Updated 07/19/2017 14:19 EDT

VICTORIA — The British Columbia New Democrats have been sworn in as government after 16 years on the Opposition benches.

In a ceremony led by First Nations drumming and songs, Premier John Horgan unveiled his cabinet for a government that has a one-seat edge over the Liberals after an agreement was reached with the three Green members following the election in May.

Horgan said Tuesday his cabinet is the first in British Columbia to achieve gender parity, with 10 women in cabinet and one named as minister of state.

Six members of the legislative assembly have been named as parliamentary secretaries, ranging in areas such as poverty reduction and emergency preparedness.

Kevin Light / Reuters
British Columbia Premier-designate John Horgan makes a statement to the media at Government House following a non-confidence vote in Victoria, B.C., June 29, 2017.

The NDP has also created a new Ministry of Mental Health and Addictions, with former health critic Judy Darcy at the helm, as the death toll from opioid overdoses continues to climb in B.C.

NDP stalwart Carole James is now deputy premier and minister of finance while longtime New Democrat Mike Farnworth becomes solicitor general and public safety minister.

"Our government will offer families relief from high costs and fees, strengthen services like health care and education, and create good jobs and economic opportunity across B.C.,'' Horgan said.

Green party Leader Andrew Weaver congratulated Horgan and his cabinet, calling the minority government a "once-in-a-lifetime chance to do politics differently in British Columbia.''

"We have a historic opportunity to put partisan politics aside and work together across party lines to advance good public policy that is in the best interest of British Columbians,'' Weaver said.