B.C. Premier John Horgan will be unveiling his cabinet next Thursday, a little more than a month after the provincial election.
Horgan has some substantial holes to fill due to retirements, including ministers of finance, transportation and jobs.
“Like so many other events, and celebrations, and ceremonies over the past eight months, this will be different from any other swearing in,” Horgan said.
There are seven positions open and Horgan has the power to add additional ministers. He will be choosing from the largest NDP caucus in the province’s history after the party won 57 seats in the election.
The new NDP MLAs will be sworn in on Tuesday, Nov. 24.
Both ceremonies are expected to be largely virtual due to a recommendation from provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry that people reduce travel in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Horgan says the Legislature will reconvene on Dec. 7 for a short, fall session. The premier also announcing Mike Farnworth will stay on as the government house leader.
One of Horgan’s main promises during his snap election campaign was to provide a $1,000 recovery benefit to families earning a household income of under $125,000, with a sliding scale for families earning up to $175,000.
The government is hoping to secure the funding through the legislature and then it will be up to the Ministry of Finance to distribute the money.
“We believe we have sufficient data because of the work we did on the worker benefits back in the first phase of the recovery plan, back in March, April and May, as well as income tax information that is held by the Ministry of Finance so that we can determine what income levels would require that refund or that recovery benefit,” Horgan said.
“We are pretty confident that, should we get through the legislative session quickly, in a week or so we’ll be able to get those deposits done shortly thereafter. We are targeting Christmas, of course.”
The money will be distributed by direct deposit. The Ministry of Finance has much of the information needed for the purposes of distributing resources.
In addition, there is increasing pressure for the province to bring in stricter measures around travelling within the province, wearing masks, and enforcing the existing restrictions in Metro Vancouver.
Henry is expected to extend the restrictions covering Fraser Health and Vancouver Coastal Health Thursday and could add additional restrictions or guidance.