Chilliwack MLA holds ‘influential’ posts in new B.C. government

Chilliwack MLA John Les was not among the cabinet appointees announced by Premier Christy Clark Monday, but he was named to three influential positions near the decision-making heart of her new government.

Chilliwack MLA John Les was not among the cabinet appointees announced by Premier Christy Clark Monday, but he was named to three influential positions near the decision-making heart of her new government.

“It kind of feels like I have the responsibilities (of a minister) without the titles – but that’s fine with me,” Les said Tuesday.

In addition to parliamentary secretary to the premier, Les was also named to sit on the treasury board and on the new government’s policies and priorities committee.

Les didn’t find it odd that the “liberal” Clark would name a conservative like himself to be her “right-hand man” as parliamentary secretary, or name her conservative rival for the leadership, MLA Kevin Falcon, to the high-profile post of finance minister.

“Our party is a coalition,” Les said. “It’s a coalition of everything that’s not socialist, and Christy understands that very well, and she’s very prepared and willing to work with the likes of myself and Kevin Falcon … and many others of the conservative bent.”

He said Clark’s decision to appoint him parliamentary secretary is “further indication” that she’s holding no grudge against voters like those in the Chilliwack riding, who voted heavily in favour of Falcon in the party’s leadership race.

“She knows we’re a party that has (held) the strong support of the centre-right of this province for a long time,” Les said. “That should continue, and I believe it will continue.”

As parliamentary secretary, Les said he will be working “closely with the premier” taking care of government business, like intergovernmental relations, which require “a lot of work and time the premier doesn’t have.”

He said the treasury board position is “actually something I had looked forward to for some time now.”

“Obviously, it’s an important group within government and … I’m excited to be part of that and make a contribution there,” he said.

 

Les was the province’s Solicitor General until he stepped down in March 2008 after learning a special prosecutor had been appointed in June, 2007 to look into allegations of improprieties in land deals made during his time as the city’s mayor. But after an investigation lasting more than three years, no charges were laid against Les.