B.C. politics is as much about the people as it is about the events that unfold. This past year had a number of memorable characters play crucial roles in the province’s biggest stories.
Here are the 2018 newsmakers of the year. This list is in alphabetical order.
There are many Horgan cabinet ministers on this list, but Dix deserves his spot because of the work he has done in overhauling parts of the health delivery system in B.C.
One of the key commitments from the NDP was the creation of urgent care centres. Dix has been travelling across the province opening these new facilities and updating the way many people will interact with the health care system.
Dix also cracked down on doctors who charge patients for publicly insured services and banned the practice of contract flipping at senior care homes.
The money laundering file is just one of many that has fallen on Eby’s plate. The attorney general, along with Premier John Horgan, is still grappling with the idea of a public inquiry into the money laundering issue.
WATCH: Attorney General David Eby sits down to discuss 2018 with Global News
Eby took a trip to Ottawa this past year to speak to a parliamentary committee about the need of more federal support to crack down on the laundering issue. He also ordered not just another report from German but a second report to look into money laundering in the housing market.
The attorney general led the charge on a class action law suit against opioid manufacturers. The suit looks to recover millions of taxpayer dollars spent to combat the ongoing drug crisis.
WATCH: Will good drivers see a decrease in ICBC rates?
Eby is also the lead on the ICBC file. The attorney general declared the public insurer a “dumpster fire” and put in significant cost-saving measures at the corporation that lost $1.3 billion last year.
Eby was named the most powerful person in Vancouver in 2018 by Vancouver Magazine.
Peter German was at the centre of one of the biggest stories of the year. The former Mountie and lawyer was in charge of a fact-finding report that found widespread money laundering in B.C. casinos.
WATCH (aired June 27): Author of money laundering report discusses who, why, amount of money involved
German wasn’t the first to find issues at B.C. casinos but his report provided Eby with the information needed to say unequivocally that illegal activities have been taking place in casinos. German has been hired by the province to conduct a second report, this time looking at money laundering in the housing market.
Some critics are alleging that the independent probe of casino money laundering was compromised because German sits on the board of Richmond’s Olympic Oval with Walter Soo, a Great Canadian Gaming executive who is responsible for the River Rock Casino’s troubled VIP gaming program. In an interview with Global News this past year German said there is no conflict.
Eby may have a lot of his plate, but the one who put all those files there is Premier John Horgan.
The NDP government’s aggressive agenda has been led by Horgan, who was drawn into a scrap with his old friend, Alberta Premier Rachel Notley, over the Trans Mountain pipeline, delivered a final investment decision from LNG Canada and was forced to take charge in pushing for a change to proportional representation.
WATCH: Premier John Horgan focusing on health care, housing as key issues in 2019
Horgan has become one of the few allies Prime Minister Justin Trudeau can count on across the country. The pair share similar visions on child care, public transit and housing but the NDP’s opposition to the pipeline continues to act as a divider between the two.
There is not a B.C. political issue that has money attached to it that doesn’t go by Carole James’ desk. The Finance Minister introduced her government’s first budget in 2018 and has led the way in implementing the new Speculation Tax and Employers Health Tax.
WATCH: Finance Minister Carole James sits down for year-end interview with Global News
Both taxes have been widely criticized by the opposition but are in the most part popular for the public. James has also served as Horgan’s deputy premier while the economy and the province’s surplus continue to grow.
Leonard Krog made more news for what may be than what has been. The former Nanaimo MLA announced plans to resign his seat in the provincial legislature if he was elected mayor of Nanaimo.
WATCH HERE: MLA Leonard Krog to run for mayor of Nanaimo
In October, the longtime politician won the mayor’s job easily and set up an inevitable by-election. The government has not yet called the vote but Horgan has promised the new representative will be in the legislature in time to debate the budget.
The reason the race is important is because if the Liberals win, the legislature will be a tie with the Speaker being required to break that tie.
The great disruptor was elected mayor of Surrey in October after running a campaign on two main promises: a regional police force and Surrey SkyTrain. McCallum won a decisive victory and is now working with both the mayor’s council and the province to fulfill those major promises.
WATCH HERE (aired November 6): Surrey’s new mayor gets down to business
McCallum’s victory sent a clear message to all political leaders that Surrey was unhappy with the way decisions had been made for the region. What is still unknown is whether the money is available to extend the SkyTrain to Langley, something light rail would have provided.
B.C. politics have had their surprise newsmakers in the past. But no one entered the political scene quite like Alan Mullen.
WATCH (aired November 21): Special adviser Alan Mullen holds B.C. legislature investigation update
Mullen was serving as a behind-the-scenes, special adviser for Speaker Darryl Plecas since January. But made headlines in November when he starting speaking on Plecas’ behalf, telling the public that a criminal investigation was underway into clerk Craig James and sergeant-at-arms Gary Lenz. Mullen also told reporters he was hired to look into the pair and had been doing so since he started in the Speaker’s office.
Vancouver’s new Mayor Kennedy Stewart has had a newsworthy year. The former MP was arrested alongside Green Party Leader Elizabeth May in 2018 after they defied a court injunction that banned protesters from disrupting construction work at Trans Mountain terminals. Stewart pleaded guilty to one count of criminal contempt of court and was fined $500.
WATCH HERE: Vancouver Mayor Kennedy Stewart talks housing affordability, money laundering
Then in October, Stewart won a three-way race to become the mayor of Vancouver. The independent candidate has said his job as mayor will be to facilitate a council where no one party has a majority.
Getting around the province has fallen into the hands of Transportation Minister Claire Trevena. It has been a busy and at times bumpy year for Trevena.
After years of indecisiveness from both governing parties, the B.C. government finally introduced ridesharing legislation in 2018. But companies like Uber are concerned the rules are far too restrictive and could prevent them from operating in the province.
WATCH HERE (aired December 17): Report suggests new consultations, options for Massey Tunnel replacement
Then there is the Massey Tunnel replacement. Trevena spent much of 2018 reviewing a report into the aging stretch of road and finally ruled more study was needed to figure out what the best crossing between Delta and Richmond will be.
BC Green Leader Andrew Weaver sneezes and the government takes notice. That is what happens when your government is held up by the support of another party.
Weaver made headlines in 2018 by threatening to take the government down over LNG and the speculation tax, while grappling with the B.C. Liberals on the issue of ridesharing.
WATCH HERE (aired August 30): B.C. Green Party leader on environmental impact of Trans Mountain pipeline
The Green Party leader was also hugely influential in the creation of the province’s climate plan.
Although Weaver has been doing huffing and puffing, there aren’t any immediate concerns he will take the government down.
Trudeau himself is up for a tough election battle in 2019 and needs British Columbia to have his back. The Liberals won 17 seats in the province in 2015 and added Surrey-White Rock in a by-election.
WATCH: Wilkinson: New protected habitats necessary for saving orca population
There are four British Columbians now in Trudeau’s cabinet, with the newest member being Jonathan Wilkinson. As the Minister of Fisheries and Oceans, the North Shore MP has been tasked with stick-handling the federal government’s spill response plan and the protection of marine wildlife like the orca whales.
In December, Wilkinson announced the creation of two new protected zones off B.C.’s coast in an attempt to save the endangered resident killer whale populations.