B.C. Premier Christy Clark, cabinet sworn in
Premier will seek legislature seat in Westside-Kelowna byelection
B.C.'s new cabinet is gearing up for work in Victoria after Premier Christy Clark and her freshly-appointed ministers were sworn in at a ceremony at Government House by Her Honour, Lt.-Gov. Judith Guichon.
Although the 19-member cabinet was named at an event in Vancouver on Friday, the appointments only became official on Monday morning when the MLAs took the oath of office.
With Clark's swearing-in, there have also been some behind-the-scenes changes in Victoria. Three deputy ministers, including former Deputy Minister of Health Graham Whitmarsh, are no longer with government.
In Canada's parliamentary system, the premier does not need to be elected in order to hold office. The premier, or a prime minister, is simply the leader of the governing party.
Whitmarsh has been a key player in several bad news stories for the Liberals, including the HST and the deal to pay $6 million in legal fees for the two former government staffers pleaded guilty to trading insider information in the BC Rail case.
While the B.C. Liberals won the May 14 provincial election, Clark was defeated in her own riding of Vancouver-Point Grey by NDP candidate David Eby, a high-profile civil rights lawyer, by more than 1,000 votes.
She announced last week that she will be seeking a new seat in an upcoming byelection in Westside-Kelowna.
The former talk-radio host led the B.C. Liberals to a surprise victory in May, largely on her promise of a balanced budget and pursuit of a trillion-dollar liquefied natural gas export industry for B.C.
In all, the cabinet is composed of nine veterans, seven rookies and two politicians who have been backbenchers but will be elevated to cabinet.
Clark named former Vancouver mayoral candidate Suzanne Anton as Justice Minister and Attorney General, and former City of Langley Mayor Peter Fassbender as Education Minister.
The premier added two new ministries — natural gas and international trade — and did away with the position of minister of state for seniors.
Clark said Deputy Premier Rich Coleman will lead the development of the province's LNG industry as the first-ever Minister for Natural Gas Development. He will also serve as Minister Responsible for Housing.
She named Mike de Jong as Finance Minister and House Leader, Steve Thomson as Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations Minister and Terry Lake as Health Minister.
Opposition NDP Leader Adrian Dix said he was surprised by the size of cabinet, given Clark's focus on fiscal restraint.
With files from The Canadian Press