The B.C. Government announced a number of cabinet changes Thursday morning, including switch ups in the Ministry of Education and other areas.
Most notably, Mike Bernier will take the place of Peter Fassbender as Minister of Education, after a grueling term for Fassbender which saw the provincial government battle it out with the teacher’s union over a lengthy labour dispute in 2014.
In December last year, Bernier was named as Minister of Environment and Parliamentary Secretary for Energy Literacy. He was elected into the legislature for the Peace River South district in the 2013 provincial election. Bernier has a long history in provincial and municipal politics in Dawson Creek, as well as a 20 year career in the natural gas industry. Bernier’s webpage does not indicate any experience in the education sector.
Meanwhile, Fassbender will move over to the Ministry of Community, Sport, Cultural Development in place of Coralee Oakes as Minister and become the Minister Responsible for Translink. Fassbender had been Minister of Education since June 2013 and acted as Vice-Chair for TransLink’s Mayors Council. He previously served as Chair of the B.C. Pavilion Corporation, the unit which operates the Vancouver Convention Centre and BC Place.
Premier Christy Clark also placed Coralee Oakes into position as Minister of Small Business, Red-Tape Reduction and Minister Responsible for the Liquor Distribution Branch. Oakes has worked as President of the British Columbia Chamber Executives and has also served as a Director on the B.C. Chamber of Commerce. She currently represents the Cariboo North region.
Naomi Yamamoto, Liberal MLA for North Vancouver-Lonsdale will serve as Minister of State for Emergency Preparedness, which will now be in the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure. She previously held the positions of Minister of State for Small Business, Minister of Advanced Education, Minister of State for Intergovernmental Relations and Minister of State for Building Code Renewal.
Clark also made changes to the parliamentary secretary roster, moving Jordan Sturdy to Parliamentary Secretary for Energy Literacy and the Environment for Minister of Environment Mary Polak. Sturdy also will chair the Climate Leadership Panel.
The Premier states that these changes are first and foremost about creating jobs.
“Today’s changes are about making sure British Columbians in every region benefit from our plan to create jobs by growing our strong and diverse economy,“ said Clark.
“We have the opportunity now to build on a record of student achievement with long-term labour peace in place, to strengthen our support for small business, which is the backbone of our economy, to work together with communities to prepare for the future, and to put in place a plan to prevent and manage emergencies or natural disasters so that our province can recover with our future secured.”