WATCH: There have been some changes made in B.C. Premier’s Cabinet this morning. Global BC Legislative Bureau Chief Keith Badlrey explains.
A shuffle in Premier Christy Clark’s Cabinet this morning could have significant consequences for Translink.
Former Education Minister Peter Fassbender will now serve as the Minister of Community, Sport, Cultural Development and Minister Responsible for Translink.
Fassbender was a key figure during the labour dispute between B.C. teachers and government that dragged on for months last fall.
He now inherits the troubled transit authority, just weeks after Metro Vancouver residents overwhelmingly rejected a transit improvement tax for the region, forcing mayors to look for a new funding model for Translink.
Global BC Legislative Bureau Chief Keith Baldrey says it is the first time in Translink’s history that it will not be overseen by the Minister of Transportation.
“Fassbender is also a former mayor of Langley,” says Baldrey. “He was heavily involved working with mayors on the governance of Translink, so in some ways, it is a pretty good fit.”
Only hours on the job, Fassbender promised to “chart a new course” for the region’s mayors and the province and restore public confidence into TransLink’s fiscal management and direction.
He said he also wants to consider the authority’s current governance structure and possible changes as part of a new plan.
“Very often we look for silver bullets to fix things when really what it takes is collaboration, consensus building, the opportunity to find solutions that ensure that we do not destroy some of the good things that are going on,” he said.
Fassbender said he has ideas, which he’ll continue to share, but no preconceived notions.
MLA for Peace River South, Mike Bernier, will take over Fassbender as the new Minister of Education.
Baldrey says Bernier’s appointment was not a surprise.
“I think that a lot of heavy-lifting has been done in that portfolio,” he says. “Now that the lengthy contract with the teachers’ union is in place, a lot of the friction is gone. So he will probably establish a new relationship with the B.C. Teachers’ Federation.”
Coralee Oakes, the politician who occupied Fassbender’s new post, has been named the Minister of Small Business, Red-Tape Reduction and Minister Responsible for the Liquor Distribution Branch.
Former Minister of State for Tourism and Small Business, Naomi Yamamoto, is now the Minister of State for Emergency Preparedness, which will now be in the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure.
– With files from The Canadian Press