Premier Christy Clark announced her post-election cabinet last week at an event in Vancouver. This is Premier Clark’s first Cabinet composed of politicians who have run under her banner; her past Cabinets were formed from Gordon Campbell’s MLAs from the 2009 election or prior. Continuing her campaign themes about the importance of the economy, the Premier said her new cabinet will work hard to grow British Columbia’s economy, particularly through encouraging the development of liquefied natural gas. Premier Clark also said there will be many requests to grow government, but her ministers must control spending so they do not burden future generations with debt.
Premier Clark unveiled a major Cabinet shakeup in today’s announcement with only three Ministers remaining in the same portfolio they held prior to the election. Nine of her 19-member Cabinet are new faces; seven of them are newly-elected MLAs and two are re-elected MLAs who have never been in Cabinet. Six existing Ministers were moved to new portfolios and three were dropped from Cabinet.
There is a new Ministry of Natural Gas Development led by Rich Coleman, a new Ministry of Technology, Innovation and Citizen’s Services led by Andrew Wilkinson and a new Ministry of International Trade led by Teresa Wat.
In her remarks, the Premier said BC needs to move quickly to develop LNG and Minister Coleman will be focused on that. Premier Clark also said her new Minister of Education, Peter Fassbender, will work hard to deliver a 10-year labour deal with teachers and the new Minister of Energy and Mines, Bill Bennett, will be responsible for undertaking a Core Review of government services to find savings and efficiencies within government.
Newly-elected members of Cabinet include:
+        Peter Fassbender, Minister of Education
+        Amrik Virk, Minister of Advanced Education
+        Todd Stone, Minister of Transportation and Infrastructure
+        Andrew Wilkinson, Minister of Technology, Innovation and Citizens Services
+        Teresa Wat, Minister of International Trade, Minister Responsible for Asia Pacific Strategy, Minister Responsible for Multiculturalism, and
+        Suzanne Anton, Minister of Justice and Attorney General
Other MLAs making their first appearance at the cabinet table include:
+        John Rustad, Minister of Aboriginal Relations + Reconciliation
+        Pat Pimm, Minister of Agriculture
With these changes, Cabinet has grown by one member and now numbers18 Ministers and one Minister of State, plus the Premier.
Some politicians no longer in Cabinet include: Ida Chong and Margaret MacDiarmid who were not re-elected, Pat Bell who did not seek re-election, as well as John Yap, Norm Letnick, Ralph Sultan, Moira Stilwell, and Ben Stewart. Stewart announced this week he will resign to allow Premier Clark to run in a by-election for his seat as she did not win her Vancouver Point Grey riding in the general election.
Members of the Executive Council
Premier Christy Clark
Hon. Rich Coleman, Deputy Premier, Minister of Natural Gas Development, Minister Responsible for Housing
Hon. Mike de Jong, Minister of Finance, Government House Leader
Hon. Steve Thomson, Minister of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations
Hon. Terry Lake, Minister of Health
Hon. John Rustad, Minister of Aboriginal Relations and Reconciliation
Hon. Peter Fassbender, Minister of Education
Hon. Amrik Virk, Minister of Advanced Education
Hon. Todd Stone, Minister of Transportation and Infrastructure
Hon. Don McRae, Minister of Social Development and Social Innovation
Hon. Stephanie Cadieux, Minister of Children and Family Development
Hon. Bill Bennett, Minister of Energy and Mines, Minister Responsible for Core Review
Hon. Coralee Oakes, Minister of Community, Sport and Cultural Development
Hon. Andrew Wilkinson, Minister of Technology, Innovation and Citizens Services
Hon. Teresa Wat, Minister of International Trade, Minister Responsible for Asia Pacific Strategy, Minister Responsible for Multiculturalism
Hon. Suzanne Anton, Minister of Justice and Attorney General
Hon. Shirley Bond, Minister of Jobs, Tourism and Skills Training, Minister Responsible for Labour
Hon. Mary Polak, Minister of Environment
Hon. Pat Pimm, Minister of Agriculture
Hon. Naomi Yamamoto, Minister of State for Small Business and Tourism
Biographies of New Cabinet Ministers
Amrik Virk was elected as MLA in the riding of Surrey-Tynehead in June 2013.
An extensive career with the RCMP included a variety of policing duties with a substantial portion of his experience with various First Nations communities. In 2001, Virk was commissioned to the rank of Inspector and posted to Surrey where he was active in the issue of youth and gang violence in communities throughout the Lower Mainland and worked extensively with community leaders to help create the British Columbia Integrated Gang Task force.
He left Surrey RCMP in 2006 while serving as the acting Officer in Charge of Operations (one of two Deputy Chief equivalents) and transferred to Langley as the Officer in Charge of Operations.
Virk is the consummate community volunteer and in the six years he spent on the board of directors of the Surrey Memorial Hospital Foundation, and helped raise millions of dollars for enhancing health care for Surrey residents. He also served on the board of Kwantlen Polytechnic University.
Coralee Oakes was elected to the represent the riding of Cariboo North in 2013.
Oakes is a former two-term Quesnel City councillor and executive director of the Quesnel and District Chamber of Commerce since 1999. She is a strong believer in a vibrant and healthy business community. As a result of her community work, in 2007 Oakes was appointed by the Province to the Small Business Roundtable to represent the rural voice of small business. This work led her to be appointed to the Minister’s Council on Tourism in 2009.
Oakes is the past president of the British Columbia Chamber Executives and has served as a director on the BC Chamber of Commerce, Canadian Chamber of Commerce Executives, Cariboo Chilcotin Tourism Association and numerous local not-for-profit organizations.
Peter Fassbender was elected to represent the riding of Surrey-Fleetwood in 2013 after a distinguished career at the municipal level.
Fassbender was elected for the first time to the City of Langley Council in November 2002 and then as mayor in the November 2005, 2008 and 2011 civic elections. Prior to his election, Fassbender served two terms as a school trustee in the late 1970s and the community and region in a host of other volunteer capacities and served on numerous national, provincial and civic committees.
Teresa Wat was elected to represent the riding of Richmond Center in 2013.
She is the president and CEO of Mainstream Broadcasting Corporation CHMB AM1320 and has also served as the news director at Channel M Television (now OMNI TV), and previously served as a communications advisor at B.C.’s Cabinet Policy and Communications Secretariat.
She was instrumental in the launch of the first-ever live Cantonese, Mandarin and Punjabi daily television news programs. In 2010, Wat was appointed to the Canadian Women Voters Congress Advisory Board and was appointed one of B.C.’s top 100 most influential women by the Vancouver Sun. She is also currently a board member of the school of journalism at UBC.
Suzanne Anton was elected to represent the riding of Vancouver Fraserview in 2013 after a distinguished career at the municipal level.
She has nine years of elected service on Vancouver city council and the Vancouver park board, and served as director of Translink and Metro Vancouver. She is a lawyer, mathematics teacher, and has experience in the leadership, management and financial operations of some of B.C.’s largest organizations.
Andrew Wilkinson was elected MLA in the riding of Vancouver-Quilchena in 2013.
He is a former deputy minister of the British Columbia Ministry of Economic Development, where he had responsibility for economic issues, trade and tourism. He also served as deputy minister for Intergovernmental Relations in the Premier’s Office for two years.
Wilkinson works as a lawyer in the Vancouver offices of a major national law firm, where he has a special interest in green renewable energy development. Prior to being called to the bar, Wilkinson was educated and licensed as a physician. He lived and worked as a doctor in Campbell River, Lillooet and Dease Lake.
He has also served as president of the BC Civil Liberties Association and president of the BC Mountaineering Club, and president of the BC Liberal Party.
Todd Stone was elected to represent the riding of Kamloops-South Thompson in 2013.
He is the founder and CEO of a Kamloops-based software company. He serves on the board of the Thompson-Nicola-Cariboo United Way (though currently on leave), and served for over six years as vice-chair of the board of governors of Thompson Rivers University.
He also served on the boards of the Kamloops Chamber of Commerce, Kamloops Ventures Fund (VCC) Inc., ACETECH, and the Insurance Corporation of British Columbia (ICBC). In addition, he was an active contributor to the Friends of UCC University Society and the Friends of the Kamloops Airport.
John Rustad was re-elected to represent the riding of Nechako Lakes in 2013.
He previously served as Parliamentary Secretary for Forestry to the Minister of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations and as a member of the Environment and Land Use Committee, Legislative Review Committee, Treasury Board, Select Standing Committee on Education, Select Standing Committee on Public Accounts and Select Standing Committee on Health.
Rustad was born and raised in Prince George and has lived all of his life in northern B.C. He grew up enjoying fishing and hunting. In 2009, he and his wife Kim moved to Cluculz Lake where they enjoy the peace and beauty of rural living.
Pat Pimm was re-elected to represent the riding of Peace River North in 2013.
He previously served as Parliamentary Secretary for the Northeast and has served as chair of the Northern Caucus and two Select Standing Committees: Aboriginal Affairs and Finance and Government Services. Pimm has also served as a member of Treasury Board.
A lifelong resident of the Peace River region, Pimm served 12 years as councillor for the City of Fort St. John from 1993 to 2005. With 25 years’ experience in the oil and gas industry, he was co-chair of the BC Oil and Gas Conference in 2002 and 2005, bringing together industry stakeholders to identify further strategies and opportunities for economic development in British Columbia’s northeast region. He has also served on a variety of other local community boards and committees.