Clark hands Falcon finance, HST

Premier Christy Clark and her new cabinet are sworn in by Lieutenant Governor Steven Point at Government House in Victoria Monday.

Premier Christy Clark has named rival Kevin Falcon her finance minister and deputy premier, handing him the delicate task of preparing for a referendum on the harmonized sales tax.

Clark unveiled a smaller cabinet at swearing-in ceremonies at Government House Monday afternoon, with new faces and new duties.

Falcon said he accepted his new duties and was looking forward to a referendum that could come as early as June, to decide the fate of the HST. He laughed off his comments the night Clark won the B.C. Liberal leadership vote.

“No, no, no,” Falcon said after finishing a close second to Clark on Feb. 26. “Don’t make me finance minister under any circumstances.”

Falcon said Monday he will do “an information job,” not a “sales job” in preparing for the vote on the issue that triggered a leadership change.

New faces include Kamloops-North Thompson MLA Terry Lake as environment minister, and Comox Valley MLA Don McRae entering cabinet as agriculture minister. Both are facing recall campaigns organized by former premier Bill Vander Zalm’s Fight HST group.

Oak Bay-Gordon Head MLA Ida Chong stays in cabinet as minister of community, sport and cultural development.

Burnaby-Lougheed MLA Harry Bloy, the only MLA to support Clark’s leadership bid, was named minister of social development.

Former finance minister Colin Hansen joined the back bench, along with former premier Gordon Campbell. Also left out of Clark’s new cabinet were former ministers Iain Black, Ben Stewart, Margaret MacDiarmid, Murray Coell, Kevin Krueger and Moira Stilwell.

Clark said leaving leadership rival Stilwell out of cabinet was one of the difficult choices she made to reduce the size of cabinet. It is down to 18 ministers from 23.

Two previous ministries are combined into forests, lands and natural resource operations. Kelowna-Mission MLA Steve Thomson runs that, with former forests minister Pat Bell moved to Clark’s most significant new job, a ministry of jobs, tourism and innovation.

Shuswap MLA George Abbott stays in education, where he was assigned in Campbell’s last cabinet shuffle. Abbotsford West MLA Mike de Jong takes over the health ministry, with Chilliwack-Hope MLA Barry Penner remaining as attorney general.

Peace River South MLA Blair Lekstrom, who quit the cabinet and caucus over the HST just before it was introduced last year, was assigned the transportation and infrastructure portfolio.

Fort Langley-Aldergrove MLA Rich Coleman takes over energy and mines, taking with him responsibility for housing that he has carried through several ministries.

Prince George-Valemount MLA Shirley Bond moves from transportation to public safety and solicitor general, a job that has seen resignations and controversy in recent years.

Langley MLA Mary Polak moves from children and family development to aboriginal relations, with Vancouver-False Creek MLA Mary McNeil replacing her in one of the government’s most difficult tasks.

First-term MLA Stephanie Cadieux remains in cabinet as minister of labour, citizens’ services and open government.

Just Posted

Fatal railway crossing accident in Chilliwack highlights risks for people in wheelchairs: TSB report

Transportation Safety Board points to ‘persistent risks faced by persons using assistive devices’

Molson-Coors to honour Sto:lo culture and history at Chilliwack brewery

Artist proposals sought by July 30 to design and install a commemorative piece

Agassiz firefighters tackling blaze on farmer’s field

A neighbour said the fire was started by a problem with a tractor

Yale man arrested after fleeing police in downtown Hope

Man arrested on three outstanding warrants after being caught in stolen van

Latest plan is to fly trapped fish by helicopter over Big Bar slide

Multi-pronged plan set in motion to freesalmon blocked by landslide in the Fraser River

VIDEO: Missing teens named as suspects in three northern B.C. killings

Kam McLeod and Bryer Schmegelsky are wanted in the deaths of Lucas Fowler, Chynna Deese, unknown man

BC Cancer Agency refuses to release audit’s critical findings, but discloses ‘positive’ findings

Information and Privacy Commissioner asked to review redactions of cancer agency’s triage audit

B.C. teens wanted in double homicide, suspicious death spotted in Manitoba

Kam McLeod and Bryer Schmegelsky were thought to have been seen in the Gillam area

Countdown starts to 2020 BC Summer Games

Two flags unveiled at Maple Ridge city hall.

VIDEO: Man found dead near B.C. teens’ truck could be linked to a double homicide

RCMP said they are looking for Kam McLeod, 19, and Bryer Schmegelsky, 18, of Port Alberni

Weather Network’s anti-meat video ‘doesn’t reflect true story’: cattle ranchers

At issue is the video’s suggestion that cutting back on meat consumption could help save the planet

VIDEO: Young couple found dead in northern B.C. had been shot, police say

Chynna Noelle Deese of the U.S. and Lucas Robertson Fowler of Australia were found along Highway 97

Wrestling legend finds his wedding dance groove in B.C.

Professional wrestler Chris Jericho posted on social media that he was in Penticton recently

Vancouver Public Library banned from Pride parade after allowing controversial speaker

Vancouver Public Library allowed Meghan Murphy to book space for an event at the library in January

Most Read