Today, Premier John Horgan was sworn in as British Columbia’s 36th premier, marking the first time in 16 years the New Democratic Party has assumed power in the province.
Premier Horgan announced his 20-member cabinet, plus two ministers of state, that is gender balanced – a first for British Columbia – and is ethnically and regionally diverse. It also includes BC’s first First Nations woman to join cabinet.
Key appointments include:
- Carole James, Minister of Finance and Deputy Premier
- Adrian Dix, Minister of Health
- Judy Darcy, Minister of Mental Health and Addictions
- Rob Fleming, Minister of Education
- Michelle Mungall, Minister of Energy, Mines and Petroleum Resources
- David Eby, Attorney General
Key innovations in this cabinet include a separate minister for mental health, and other ministries which specifically refer to NDP priority areas including child care, poverty reduction and climate change. Only one person has cabinet experience – Mike Farnworth, Minister of Public Safety and Solicitor General – who served during the 1990s.
Today’s swearing-in ceremony comes more than two months after British Columbians went to the polls.
Premier Horgan said his government will bring change to the social, economic and environmental challenges facing British Columbia including reduced costs for families and better, more reliable services.
Premier Horgan’s immediate priorities include responding to the wildfire situation, renegotiating the softwood lumber agreement and addressing the opioid overdose crisis. Next week, Horgan will travel to Ottawa for a meeting with the prime minister followed by a visit to Washington where he will be joined by a delegation from the forest sector.
Premier Horgan will lead a minority government with the backing of the BC Green Party. The New Democrats have 41 seats and the Greens have three. This will be the slimmest minority in BC history facing the strongest opposition in history, with 43 BC Liberals. At this point, former premier Christy Clark will stay on as Opposition Leader.
In addition to the cabinet appointments there are six parliamentary secretaries, a list of which is included below.
As the cabinet was being sworn in, the BC Government announced a shake up in the deputy minister ranks, with at least nine deputies being replaced while others have been shuffled. Stephen Brown retains his position as Deputy Minister of Health, the largest ministry in government. There are at least 12 new faces among the deputy minister ranks but almost all of them are existing civil servants. The complete list of deputy ministers is attached below.
The swearing-in ceremony would normally be a time of great celebration for New Democrats but it has been tempered by British Columbia’s ravaging wildfires. The province-wide state-of-emergency is the worst in at least 14 years and has forced the evacuation of 40,000 homes with many more under threat. Premier Horgan made repeated references to the unfolding crisis in his first speech as premier.
Members of the Executive Council
Parliamentary Secretary Appointees
Parliamentary Secretary for Emergency Preparedness – Jennifer Rice, North Coast
Parliamentary Secretary for Poverty Reduction – Mable Elmore, Vancouver-Kensington
Parliamentary Secretary for Seniors – Anne Kang, Burnaby-Deer Lake
Parliamentary Secretary for Sport and Multiculturalism – Ravi Kahlon, Delta North
Parliamentary Secretary for Technology – Rick Glumac, Port Moody-Coquitlam
Parliamentary Secretary for Translink – Bowinn Ma, North Vancouver-Lonsdale