Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Mr. Campbell's chosen 24

BC has a new cabinet to go with the new Liberal government, with the MLA's all freshly sworn into their offices, the Premier Gordon Campbell introduced some new names to the cabinet and old names to new positions on Wednesday afternoon.

Among the high profile newcomers to the government benches will be Kash Heed, the former head of the West Vancouver police force, now the provinces new Solicitor General.

Other first timers to the cabinet table include Margaret MacDiarmid, Ben Stewart, Moira Stilwell, Steve Thomson, Naomi Yamamoto, Mary McNeill, John Yap and Randy Hawes, all with what seem like training portfolios to get their careers in management underway.

The outgoing crop of ministers dropped included Linda Reid, Gordon Hogg, Ron Cantelon and Joan McIntyre, all of whom now return to the back benches on the Government side. And with his electoral defeat in Delta, former Attorney General Wally Oppal is not only out of cabinet but out of politics for the time being.

While some of the holdovers found new jobs including Prince George MLA Shirley Bond now our new Transportation czar and Kevin Falcon who will be handling the always controversial health portfolio, one name remained steady at the financial helm.

Colin Hansen returns to the Finance portfolio as Finance Minister and adding on the Deputy Premier title to his CV, Hansen's first task as he returns to the abacus and calculators of the financial tombs will be to craft a revised budget. With the much discussed election budget predictions apparently gone with the electoral winds.

Now safely back in office, the Liberals it seems have had a sudden conversion in matters of financial developments, and the deficit seems destined to rise in a dramatic fashion as the Liberal government strives to tackle the economic challenges of the day.

The revision of thinking has not been lost on some of British Columbia's most dedicated of observers, Michael Smyth of the Province recently published a column in that paper that outlines how Fudge it budget II may be about to play at the Legislature, bringing back memories of the NDP days of Glen Clark, when financial prognostication didn't quite hold water on many instances.

In this economic environment, two wrongs certainly won't make for a right, but politics it seems will always be politics in BC, where election campaign promises always seem to have a caveat that can conveniently be called upon when the financial yardsticks need to be moved.

Mr. Hansen won't have much relaxation time to enjoy his new dual duties. He has however signalled early on that he believes those electoral deficit figures may yet stand to see the light of day. Should he have to change that opinion though we suspect that the heat will be turned up on the new government pretty quickly.

Though they won't have to face that heat for at least a couple of months, the Premier while anxious to introduce the collection of 24 ministers, isn't in any hurry to send them into debate at the Leg, the first session of the new session won't get underway until August.

No doubt, the Liberals are hoping that whatever bad economic news they will have to deliver shortly, will be showing signs of success by the time they return to the debate and challenges of the legislature.
Vancouver Province-- Campbell announces new cabinet
Victoria Times Colonist-- Campbell welcomes a new generation
Victoria Times Colonist-- Cabinet grows in tight times

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