The article you just read was brought to you by a few thousand dedicated readers. Will you join them?

Thanks for coming by The Tyee and reading one of many original articles we’ll post today. Our team works hard to publish in-depth stories on topics that matter on a daily basis. Our motto is: No junk. Just good journalism.

Just as we care about the quality of our reporting, we care about making our stories accessible to all who want to read them and provide a pleasant reading experience. No intrusive ads to distract you. No paywall locking you out of an article you want to read. No clickbait to trick you into reading a sensational article.

There’s a reason why our site is unique and why we don’t have to rely on those tactics — our Tyee Builders program. Tyee Builders are readers who chip in a bit of money each month (or one-time) to our editorial budget. This amazing program allows us to pay our writers fairly, keep our focus on quality over quantity of articles, and provide a pleasant reading experience for those who visit our site.

In the past year, we’ve been able to double our staff team and boost our reporting. We invest all of the revenue we receive into producing more and better journalism. We want to keep growing, but we need your support to do it.

Fewer than 1 in 100 of our average monthly readers are signed up to Tyee Builders. If we reach 1% of our readers signing up to be Tyee Builders, we could continue to grow and do even more.

If you appreciate what The Tyee publishes and want to help us do more, please sign up to be a Tyee Builder today. You pick the amount, and you can cancel any time.

Support our growing independent newsroom and join Tyee Builders today.
Canada needs more independent media. And independent media needs you.

Did you know that most news organizations in Canada are owned by just a handful of companies? And that these companies have been shutting down newsrooms and laying off reporters continually over the past few decades?

Fact-based, credible journalism is essential to our democracy. Unlike many other newsrooms across the country, The Tyee’s independent newsroom is stable and growing.

How are we able to do this? The Tyee Builder program. Tyee Builders are readers who chip into our editorial budget so that we can keep doing what we do best: fact-based, in-depth reporting on issues that matter to our readers. No paywall. No junk. Just good journalism.

Fewer than 1 in 100 of our average monthly readers are signed up to be Tyee Builders. If we reach 1% of our readers signing up to be Tyee Builders, we could continue to grow and do even more.

If you appreciate what The Tyee publishes and want to help us do more, please sign up to be a Tyee Builder today. You pick the amount, and you can cancel any time.

Support our growing independent newsroom and join Tyee Builders today.
We value: Our readers.
Our independence. Our region.
The power of real journalism.
We're reader supported.
Get our newsletter free.
Help pay for our reporting.
News
  |  
BC Election 2013

New Gas, Trade and Tech Ministries in Clark's Cabinet

BC premier promises her team will 'accelerate' jobs plan and 'run a tight ship.'

By David P Ball and Andrew MacLeod 7 Jun 2013 | TheTyee.ca

David P. Ball is a frequent contributor to The Tyee.

Andrew MacLeod is The Tyee's Legislative Bureau Chief in Victoria. Find him on Twitter or reach him here.

With files from Tyee education reporter Katie Hyslop.

With the industrial clatter and rumble of Port Metro Vancouver as a backdrop, Premier Christy Clark sent a strong pro-business message with the announcement of a cabinet which includes new ministries for natural gas, international trade, technology and innovation.

"British Columbians sent us the most talented group of MLAs that I think have ever sat in the legislature," she told a large crowd gathered at the port, at an event that, unusually, was paid for by the private sector. As many as 20 groups donated for the event, including the BC Trucking Association ($2,500), BC Restaurant and Foodservices Association.

"Together, we have the opportunity and obligation to grow the economy, control spending, and put B.C. firmly on track to a debt-free future," Clark said. "To remain strong in the face of global economic uncertainty, we will accelerate our jobs plan and run a tight ship."

Occasionally interrupted by the sound of shipping and giant rattling boat chains, Clark appointed a mix of newcomer "fresh perspectives" alongside stalwarts such as Mike de Jong as finance minister and Rich Coleman as her deputy premier.

In a nod to one of the BC Liberals' key election planks to bolster natural gas, Clark added a new job to Coleman's existing housing portfolio: minister of natural gas development.

The new department would seize the "economic opportunity of a lifetime," the premier said, creating thousands of jobs and working with "investors and companies" to develop energy projects. It would also established a "Prosperity Fund" to pay off the province's debt-load, a government statement added.

"It sends a really strong message to the investment community with regards to these multi-billion dollar projects," Coleman told The Tyee as the ceremony ended. "We're going after this opportunity for British Columbians; it's what's going to get us to be a debt-free B.C.

"It's going to take a lot of work, but I think the commitment's important."

New jobs-focused ministries

Following the announcement of her executive, which will be formally sworn in on June 10, The Tyee asked Clark how much input the private sector had on the decision to create new ministries focused on industry and trade. She appointed newly elected MLA Andrew Wilkinson to head the new department, Technology, Innovation and Citizens' Services, which will push for growth in the province's tech sector, as well as increase citizens' access to information online.

"We consulted the business community on creating the jobs plan before we introduced it," Clark replied, adding that technology in particular was a sector identified as a major future job creator, estimating it would add up to 100,000 new positions in the Lower Mainland and southern Vancouver Island. But unlike forestry or mining, the sector lacked a dedicated ministry. "I felt that was something we needed to address," she said.

A noteworthy announcement is the appointment of first-time MLA Suzanne Anton as minister of justice and attorney general. Anton was a Crown prosecutor until 1999, but told The Tyee she would have to consult others before pledging to reform any aspects of the justice system.

Anton replaced Shirley Bond in that position, who was moved to become minister of labour and jobs. Other appointments include Terry Lake moving from the environment to the health ministry; Mary Polak as environment minister; Bill Bennett to the energy and mines portfolio; and John Rustad as aboriginal relations.

Clark made Bennett responsible for a core review aimed at identifying places to save money and find efficiencies in the government. The BC Liberals had a previous core review starting in 2001 when they first won power.

Rookie MLA Peter Fassbender, who will step down as Langley mayor in July, is the new education minister. Outgoing BC Teachers' Federation President Susan Lambert called Fassbender's appointment an opportunity for relations between teachers and government to "move forward."

"What Minister Fassbender has to do now is bridge the gap between the bargaining table and cabinet and ensure that sufficient resources are brought to the bargaining table, to alleviate the deteriorating conditions in schools and to reduce class sizes, bring in more supports for students with special needs, and respect the profession of teaching so that it can be a competitive one," she said.

Large number of appointments, notes Dix

"We want to congratulate all 34 ministers and parliamentary secretaries who received positions today," said Adrian Dix, leader of the New Democratic Party. The Opposition is looking forward to working with them in the legislature, he said.

The Opposition intends to hold the government to its commitments, including balancing the budget, reducing the province's debt and protecting health care and education, he said.

Given the commitment to balancing the budget and reducing the debt, the number of appointments was surprising, said Dix. "I think 34 ministers and parliamentary secretaries is a lot."

There are still appointments for a speaker, deputy speaker, government whip and caucus chair to come, so that nearly every Liberal MLA will have an added role and the income that comes with it.

The government's message of control does not seem to extend to political positions, said Dix.

He also noted that launching a "core review" after being in power for 12 years suggests the government is not confident that the budget is balanced.

Clark said she is committed to balancing the budget for the next four years and that restraint will be key. "There will be those asking us to spend money, those asking us to grow government," she said, adding those discussions will have to happen in a respectful way, but with respect for taxpayers.

582px version of Christy Clark at cabinet announcement, 2013
Premier Clark announces her cabinet to a large crowd at Port Metro Vancouver, June 7, 2013. Photo by David P. Ball.

Clark demoted Norm Letnick and Moira Stilwell, returning MLAs who had been ministers before the election.

The cabinet includes just two representatives from Vancouver and one from Vancouver Island. Noting that Margaret MacDiarmid and Christy Clark lost in Vancouver ridings, and Ida Chong in the Capital Region, Dix said, "The voters reduced the government's representation in Vancouver and Victoria."

Full list of cabinet members:

Rich Coleman: Natural Gas Development and Deputy Premier

John Rustad: Aboriginal Relations and Reconciliation

Amrik Virk: Advanced Education

Pat Pimm: Agriculture

Stephenie Cadieux: Children and Family Development

Coralee Oakes: Community, Sport and Cultural Development

Peter Fassbender: Education

Bill Bennett: Energy and Mines and Minister Responsible for Core Review

Mary Polak: Environment

Michael de Jong: Finance and Government House Leader

Steve Thomson: Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations

Terry Lake: Health

Teresa Wat: International Trade, Minister Responsible for Asia Pacific Strategy and Multiculturalism

Shirley Bond: Jobs, Tourism and Skills Training and Minister Responsible for Labour

Naomi Yamamoto: Minister of State for Tourism and Small Business

Suzanne Anton: Justice and Attorney General

Don McRae: Social Development and Social Innovation

Andrew Wilkinson: Minister of Technology, Innovation and Citizens' Services

Todd Stone: Minister of Transportation and Infrastructure and Deputy House Leader

Full list of Parliamentary secretaries:

Norm Letnick: Intergovernmental Affairs

Greg Kyllo: BC Jobs Plan

Linda Reimer: Communities

Jane Thornthwaite: Student Support and Parent Engagement

Marc Dalton: Independent School Sector

Donna Barnett: Rural Development

Dan Ashton: Core Review

Linda Larson: Seniors

Michelle Stilwell: Healthy Living

Darryl Plecas: Crime Reduction

Laurie Throness: Corrections

John Yap: Liquor Policy Reform

Jordan Sturdy: Transportation

Richard T. Lee: Asia Pacific Strategy  [Tyee]

Read more: BC Election 2013

Share this article

The Tyee is supported by readers like you

Join us and grow independent media in Canada

Facts matter. Get The Tyee's in-depth journalism delivered to your inbox for free.

Tyee Commenting Guidelines

Do not:

  •  Use sexist, classist, racist or homophobic language
  • Libel or defame
  • Bully, threaten, name-call or troll
  • Troll patrol. Instead, downvote, or flag suspect activity
  • Attempt to guess other commenters’ real-life identities

Do:

  • Verify facts, debunk rumours
  • Add context and background
  • Spot typos and logical fallacies
  • Highlight reporting blind spots
  • Ignore trolls and flag violations
  • Treat all with respect and curiosity
  • Stay on topic
  • Connect with each other

LATEST STORIES

The Barometer

Are You Concerned about Rising Support for Canada’s Far-Right Parties?

Take this week's poll