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B.C. cabinet: Key ministries and who’s in charge of them

Premier John Horgan delivers message to British Columbians
B.C. has a new premier. NDP Leader John Horgan was officially sworn in Tuesday afternoon in Victoria and had this message for British Columbians.

John Horgan and his cabinet were sworn in by Lt.-Gov. Judith Guichon on Tuesday, making the NDP leader B.C.’s 36th premier.

Horgan’s cabinet includes 11 men and 11 women. The NDP will hold its first cabinet meeting on Wednesday, but the legislature won’t resume its business until the first week of September.

READ MORE: John Horgan sworn-in as B.C. premier, unveils new cabinet

Here’s a look at some of the key portfolios, and who is responsible for them:

Attorney General

Vancouver-Point Grey MLA David Eby will serve as Attorney General. His portfolio includes criminal justice and family law, court services, gaming policy and enforcement, liquor control and licensing.

The ministry is also responsible for ICBC, BC Ferries and the BC Human Rights Tribunal.

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Eby was executive director of the B.C. Civil Liberties Association from 2009 to 2013. In 2011, he ran in Vancouver-Point Grey and lost to Christy Clark by about 600 votes. He took the riding from Clark in the 2013 election.

He retained his seat this May, beating Liberal James Lombardi by almost 6,000 votes.

“I’m incredibly honored to be chosen to be the new Attorney General of British Columbia,” said Eby.

READ MORE: David Eby

“To restore and ensure public confidence in the rule of law and the law applies to everybody equally. And I know a lot of people have had concerns on big money and politics, and human rights and dealing with the perception that our current electoral system is broken. So, these are priorities coming out of the gate.”

Eby has been outspoken on housing issues such as empty homes front and foreign investment in the region.

Finance

Victoria-Beacon Hill MLA Carole James is taking over as minister of finance and deputy premier.

The ministry is in charge of economic and financial analysis, tax policy, fiscal planning, the treasury board and homeowner grant administration, among other files.

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James will also be in charge of the BC Pension Corporation and the BC Real Estate Council.

James was president of the B.C. School of Trustees Association for five terms in 1995. She was then elected to the Greater Victoria School Board from 1990 to 2001.

WATCH: NDP finance critic Carole James reacts to B.C. Budget 2016

She was elected as leader of the BC NDP in 2003. In 2005 she won her riding in Victoria-Beacon Hill, defeating incumbent BC Liberal Jeff Bray.

In 2010 she resigned the party’s leadership. She was re-elected in her riding in 2009, 2013 and most recently during the May election.

Children and Family Development

Kootenay West MLA Katrine Conroy will be in charge of this portfolio, which includes child safety, family support, children in care services, child care and foster care.

Conroy was elected to the Legislative Assembly in 2005. She was elected in Kootenay West in May, winning by a margin of more than 6,000 votes.

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She used to be treasurer of the Regional District of Central Kootenay Community Future Board and was a founding board member of the Community Social Services Employers Association.

READ MORE: MCFD in the news

Education

Victoria-Swan Lake MLA Rob Fleming will oversee education. His portfolio includes funding for K-12 instruction, public school capital and seismic program, independent and community schools, as well as literacy and libraries.

The ministry also oversees the BC Teachers’ Council and the Education Advisory Council.

Fleming began his political career in 2005, winning Victoria-Hillside. In 2009, he ran successfully for Victoria-Swan Lake – a riding he’s held ever since.

Fleming also served two terms as a Victoria city councillor. He used to be a research and policy analyst with the Ministry of Advanced Education.

READ MORE: Vancouver School Board to get $22M less in class size and composition money than expected

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Fleming said there’s lots of work to do and it starts on Wednesday, when he will meet with stakeholders and his deputy minister.

“We’ve got a lot to do in implementing the Supreme Court decision, there’s teachers to hire, there’s districts that have been waiting for a government to work with to be in compliance with that and there’s just a lot on the capital side,” he said.

Fleming previously served as the NDP’s education critic.

Health

Vancouver-Kingsway Adrian Dix has been named minister of health. Some of the portfolio’s responsibilities include hospital and emergency services, health facilities and policy planning, the BC Ambulance Service, and the BC Nurse Line.

The Ministry is also in charge of mental health and substance use services, although this will now fall more under the new Ministry of Mental Health and Addictions.

Dix is the former leader of the BC NDP. He was first elected as Vancouver-Kingsway MLA in 2005. In 2013, he ran for premier but lost to Christy Clark despite many polls that suggested a different result.

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READ MORE: B.C. Health Minister Terry Lake will not run in next election

Horgan then took his place as leader of the BC NDP.

Dix also served as chief of staff to former B.C. Premier Glen Clark from 1996 to 1999.

Mental Health and Addictions

New Westminster MLA Judy Darcy will be in charge of the newly-created Ministry of Mental Health and Addictions.

She’ll be responsible for overseeing program evaluations and research related to addictions and mental health, as well as a strategic response to the overdose crisis.

Darcy was the president of the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE) from 1991 to 2003. She was also business manager of the Hospital Employees’ Union from 2005 to 2011.

READ MORE: New Ministry of Mental Health and Addictions aims to tackle B.C.’s opioid crisis

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She later ran to be MLA for New Westminster in 2013, and she was re-elected in 2017.

Transportation and Infrastructure

North Island Claire Trevena is B.C.’s new minister of transportation and infrastructure. She will be in charge of transportation planning, highway construction and maintenance, port and airport development, as well as public transit and coastal and inland ferries.

However, TransLink will fall under the reins of minister Selina Robinson, and Parliamentary Secretary Bowinn Ma.

BC Ferries, the Passenger Transportation Board, and the BC Transit Corporation will also be on her plate.

READ MORE: Province promises $2.2 billion toward Metro Vancouver transit plan

Claire came to Canada in the 1990s as the BBC’s Canadian correspondent. She first won her riding in 2005 and has taken every election since then.

Previously, she was the opposition critic on transportation.

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Environment

Vancouver-Fairview MLA George Heyman will take on the environment and climate change strategy portfolio.

Heyman will be in charge of air, land and quality standards, parks, protected areas, climate action, environmental emergency response and the Conservation Officer Service.

Heyman was executive director of Sierra Club, an environmental advocacy and educational organization.

READ MORE: B.C. election results put federally-approved Trans Mountain pipeline in jeopardy

He also served three terms as president of the B.C. Government and Service Employees’ Union (BCGEU).

Heyman first ran in Vancouver-Fairview in 2013, and was re-elected in May.

He used to serve as critic for environment, green economy and technology.

Social Development and Poverty Reduction

Vancouver-Hastings MLA Shane Simpson is taking on the portfolio of social development and poverty reduction.

The portfolio involves income and disability assistance, employment programs, poverty reduction strategy and community employment partnerships.

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Simpson served as opposition critic for the environment from 2005 to 2009. He has served as critic for housing, ICBC, the BC Lottery Corporation and the BC Liquor Distribution Branch.

He most recently served as labour critic.

Simpson has held the Vancouver-Hastings riding since 2009.

Municipal Affairs and Housing

Coquitlam-Maillardville MLA Selina Robinson will be in charge of local government services, local planning and infrastructure financial assistance, housing affordability policies and programs, rental housing policy, building policy and transition housing.

She will also be in charge of TransLink; North Vancouver-Lonsdale MLA Bowinn Ma will help on the file as parliamentary secretary for Translink.

Robinson was first elected as MLA for Coquitlam-Maillardville in 2013, and was re-elected in May.

READ MORE: TransLink ‘anxiously’ awaits minister’s appointment

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She was first declared defeated on election night, but once absentee ballots were counted she pulled ahead of BC Liberal Steve Kim with a thin margin.

Robinson also used to serve on Coquitlam’s city council.

  • With files from Emily Lazatin