November 26, 2020, B.C. Premier John Horgan announced his Cabinet, charting a path forward for his new majority government. Horgan stated the cabinet choices would fulfill campaign promises of continuing to fight the pandemic, improving the quality of health care, ensuring affordability and security across the province, and investing in good jobs as well as a clean-energy future.
The cabinet is gender-balanced with 12 women and 12 men and was, for the first time ever, appointed virtually due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The full list can be found at the end of this document or by clicking here.
The cabinet provides a unique mix of Ministers returning to previous portfolios, such as Adrian Dix continuing as Minister of Health, as well as new faces entering cabinet for the first time. Additionally, in some cases. Ministerial responsibilities and even Ministry names have also been changed.
Major changes announced today include:
- Selina Robinson appointed Minister of Finance.
- Robinson is a three-time MLA for Coquitlam-Maillardville and was previously Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing. Robinson has big shoes to fill after the retirement of former Finance Minister Carole James, who has agreed to continue to work with the NDP Government as a special advisory for a salary of $1 per year.
- Ravi Kahlon joins Cabinet for the first time as the Minister of Jobs, Economic Recovery, and Innovation.
- This appointment is a significant promotion for Kahlon, who is the MLA for Delta North. He will be responsible for coordinating the province’s COVID-19 economic recovery. He will be assisted in this role by Minister of State for Trade George Chow and Parliamentary Secretary – Technology and Innovation Brenda Bailey, who brings extensive experience in the Tech Sector.
- Josie Osbourne becomes the new Minister of Municipal Affairs.
- The newly-elected MLA for Mid Island-Pacific Rim will draw on her experience serving as Mayor of Tofino since 2013. It should be noted that this portfolio no longer includes housing as those responsibilities have been given to Attorney General David Eby.
- Jennifer Whiteside appointed Minister of Education.
- The rookie MLA for New Westminster will likely draw on her union experience with the HEU to navigate this challenging portfolio. She will be tasked to dial down tensions between the province and the BCTF over COVID-19 safety measures in classrooms.
- Katrine Conroy as Minister of Forests, Lands, Natural Resource Operations & Rural Development
- Recently elected to her 5th term as an NDP MLA, Conroy becomes B.C.’s first female Minister in charge of the forestry portfolio. She’ll be supported by Minister of State for Lands, Natural Resource Operations Nathan Cullen – who is being directed to break up FLNRO into two ministries – and the Parliamentary Secretary responsible for Rural Development Roly Russell, the rookie MLA for Boundary – Similkameen.
- Murray Rankin takes over as Minister of Indigenous Relations and Reconciliation.
- Although he is a newly minted MLA, Rankin is an experienced parliamentarian, having served two terms as MP. A lawyer by trade, he has expertise in indigenous and environmental issues.
- Rob Fleming moves from his previous Education portfolio to Minister of Transportation and Infrastructure.
- Fleming, a veteran MLA re-elected in the riding of Victoria – Swan Lake, will be assisted in his role by North Vancouver – Lonsdale MLA Bowinn Ma, who joins cabinet for the first time as Minister of State for Infrastructure.
With twenty ministers and four ministers of state, this cabinet is the same size as Horgan’s previous cabinet, despite the NDP now having 57 MLAs on the Government side of the house. Ministers will be assisted by thirteen parliamentary secretaries, many of whom are newly-elected MLAs. There are nine new ministers, four of whom are also new MLAs.
Interestingly, No one was appointed as Deputy Premier.
Shifting Priorities and Majority Mandate Reflected in Changes
The Ministers were not the only changes made during today’s announcement. Ministerial responsibilities were also shifted amongst several portfolios. Additionally, a handful of ministries saw name changes reflecting a shift in focus:
- David Eby’s Attorney General Portfolio also takes on the Responsibility for Housing. This addition means Eby will have to face various challenges around affordable housing and homelessness that featured prominently in the NDP’s election platform. Eby will also oversee strata challenges.
- The Ministry of Energy, Mines, and Petroleum Resources will now be known as the Ministry of Energy, Mines, and Low Carbon Innovation. Minister Bruce Ralston retains the portfolio and becomes the Minister Responsible for the Consular Corps of British Columbia.
- The Ministry of Agriculture sees a name change to the Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Fisheries, while keeping Lana Popham as Minister.
- Minister George Heyman retains the Environment and Climate Change Strategy portfolio and gains responsibilities for Translink.
- The Jobs, Economic Development, and Competitiveness portfolio sees a name change along with Ravi Kahlon as the new minister. The portfolio has been renamed the Ministry of Jobs, Economic Recovery, and Innovation, highlighting the critical importance of economic recovery during this term of government.
A short, virtual legislative session is scheduled to begin on December 7th, necessitating the election of a Speaker and reading of a Throne Speech. Today, Premier Horgan announced that MLA Raj Chouhan has been nominated by his party to be the new Speaker. During the session, MLAs will vote on the NDP’s promise to provide a $1,000 cash payment to eligible households before adjourning for the holidays.
Full List of Cabinet and Parliamentary Secretaries:
Premier: John Horgan
Attorney General (and Minister Responsible For Housing): David Eby
- Parliamentary Secretary – Anti-Racism Initiatives: Rachna Singh
Advanced Education and Skills Training: Anne Kang
- Parliamentary Secretary – Skills Training: Andrew Mercier
Agriculture, Food and Fisheries: Lana Popham
- Parliamentary Secretary – Fisheries and Aquaculture: Fin Donnelly
Citizens’ Services: Lisa Beare
Children and Family Development: Mitzi Dean
- Minister of State for Child Care: Katrina Chen
Education: Jennifer Whiteside
Energy, Mines and Low Carbon Innovation (and Minister Responsible for the Consular Corps of British Columbia): Bruce Ralston
Environment and Climate Change Strategy (and Minister Responsible for Translink): George Heyman
- Parliamentary Secretary – Environment: Kelly Greene
Finance: Selina Robinson
- Parliamentary Secretary – Gender Equity: Grace Lore
Forests, Lands, Natural Resource Operations and Rural Development: Katrine Conroy
- Minister of State for Lands, Natural Resource Operations: Nathan Cullen
- Parliamentary Secretary – Rural Development: Roly Russell
Health (and Minister Responsible for Francophone Affairs): Adrian Dix
- Parliamentary Secretary – Seniors Services and Long Term Care: Mable Elmore
Indigenous Relations and Reconciliation: Murray Rankin
Jobs, Economic Recovery and Innovation: Ravi Kahlon
- Minister of State for Trade: George Chow
- Parliamentary Secretary – Technology and Innovation: Brenda Bailey
Labour: Harry Bains
- Parliamentary Secretary – New Economy: Adam Walker
Mental Health and Addictions: Sheila Malcolmson
Municipal Affairs: Josie Osborne
Public Safety and Solicitor General: Mike Farnworth
- Parliamentary Secretary – Emergency Preparedness: Jennifer Rice
Social Development and Poverty Reduction: Nicholas Simons
- Parliamentary Secretary – Community Development and Non-Profits: Niki Sharma
- Parliamentary Secretary – Accessibility: Dan Coulter
Tourism, Arts, Culture and Sport: Melanie Mark
- Parliamentary Secretary – Arts and Film: Bob D’Eith
Transportation and Infrastructure: Rob Fleming
- Minister of State for Infrastructure: Bowinn Ma
Deputy Ministers also shuffled
A handful of Deputy Ministers were also moved into new roles today, including:
- Lori Wanamaker moves from Finance to Premier’s Office as Deputy Minister to the Premier, Cabinet Secretary, and Head of the Public Service
- Jill Kot moves from Citizens Services to Deputy Minister in the Office of the Premier
- Heather Wood moves from Secretary to Treasury Board to the role of Deputy Minister of Finance
- Bobbi Plecas moves from Intergovernmental Relations Secretariat in the Office of the Premier to the position of Deputy Minister, Jobs, Economic Recovery, and Innovation
- Shauna Brouwer moves from Tourism, Arts and Culture to Citizens’ Services