British Columbia

Former B.C. Premier Ujjal Dosanjh on how Horgan will pick his cabinet

The former NDP premier says Premier-designate John Horgan faces a tough challenge in picking a representative cabinet.

'It is a very, very challenging task for a premier'

Former B.C. Premier Ujjal Dosanjh says there are a number of things to consider before picking a cabinet. (CBC News)

Former B.C. premier Ujjal Dosanjh says Premier-designate John Horgan has a tough task ahead of him when it comes to picking a cabinet.

"It is a very, very challenging task for a premier," Dosanjh told CBC's The Early Edition.

"You have to worry about the regional balances — which the NDP is going to have to really worry about because they have very few rural and northern members. Then you have the gender balance, minorities, and all of the other issues."

Dosanjh, who represented the NDP as B.C.'s 33rd premier, and then the federal Liberals as minister of health, says Horgan will likely face pressure from some keener representatives.

"Sometimes you do get lobbied," he said.

"I always thought you never get lobbied because I never lobbied anybody for anything. But during my time one caucus member had everyone and their mother phone me for various positions and he was still left out."

Balancing experience with egos

He said as a long-time opposition party with many inexperienced members, it will be important for the NDP and Horgan to include "experienced blood" in cabinet.

He added, however, picking a cabinet is also about balancing egos.

"Sometimes what happens is some members think they're more knowledgeable or experienced about a particular issue [that's not the portfolio they're assigned to]," he said. "Sometimes those egos clash."

And it's not necessary former critics get assigned to the same portfolio when they are in government, Ujjal said.

"Sometimes it actually works against the critic because the critic has a record of having said a few things. If you put a non-critic in that area as cabinet minister, it's easy-going for navigating certain issues," he said.

"The opposition certainly can't throw your previous statements at you."

Overall, Dosanjh said he believes Horgan is up to the task.

"John is a great guy and I'm looking forward to him being the premier. My advice would be put your head down, do the work, serve the people."

Listen to the interview with Ujjal Dosanjh on The Early Edition