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.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Second earthquake in two days strikes near Agassiz

A 2.6-magnitude recorded Saturday morning

Province bringing 421 new affordable childcare spaces to Fraser Valley

Supporting early childhood educators and creating spaces go hand in hand, minister says

New waste system rolling out across Hope Feb. 10

Bins began arriving at homes around Hope this week

Rude awakening: 1.6-magnitude earthquake rouses residents from their sleep

The quake was detected 3 km east-northeast of Agassiz

Women take centre stage at NHL all-star skills competition

Canada beat the United States 2-1 in a spirited 3-on-3 game between female players Friday night

BCLC opens novelty bet on Harry and Meghan moving to the west coast

Meanwhile, real estate agency points to four possible homes for the family

Canada slips in global corruption ranking in aftermath of SNC-Lavalin scandal

The country obtained a score of 77, which places it at the top in the Americas

Wuhan bans cars, Hong Kong closes schools as coronavirus spreads

Hong Kong leader Carrie Lam said her government will raise its response level to emergency, highest one

B.C.’s oldest practising lawyer celebrates 100th birthday, shares advice

Firefighters bring Constance Isherwood a cake with 100 birthday candles

Vernon woman suing McDonald’s for spilled coffee

Woman seeking nearly $10K, says employee failed to put lid on properly

5 things you need to know to start using ridesharing in Metro Vancouver

From how to get started to where drivers can take you, heres all you need to know

Diners’ health tax not catching on in B.C., restaurant group says

Small businesses look for options to cover employer health tax

Most Read