John Horgan was sworn in as B.C.’s new premier and the new cabinet positions were announced at Government House in Victoria. (Arnold Lim/Black Press)

Premier John Horgan, NDP cabinet get down to work

NDP’s 22-member cabinet includes minister of mental health

Premier John Horgan heads into his first cabinet meeting Wednesday with top priorities of moving ahead with elimination of bridge tolls in Metro Vancouver and increasing income assistance rates by $100 a month.

At a news conference at Government House Tuesday after being sworn in along with a 22-member NDP cabinet, Horgan said he must then prepare for a visit to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau in Ottawa and then a trip to Washington D.C. The U.S. visit is to make good on a campaign pledge to personally assist in negotiations for a new softwood lumber trade agreement.

In a speech to supporters in a packed ballroom at Government House, Horgan repeatedly referred to the situation facing B.C. residents either evacuated or on alert to get out of the way of forest fires. He said he wants to get to work immediately “so the people in the Interior don’t have to go home to a burned-out community with no jobs.”

The government change is an immediate test for Stikine MLA Doug Donaldson, who takes over as forests minister in the midst of the fire situation. Victoria-Beacon Hill MLA Carole James received the largest ovation at the ceremony when she was announced as deputy premier and finance minister.

Horgan takes over as premier with the support of the three-member B.C. Green Party caucus marks the first change in governenment in 16 years. The cabinet has 20 ministers, including New Westminster MLA Judy Darcy heading a new ministry of mental health and addictions.

Nelson-Creston MLA Michelle Mungall is appointed energy, mines and petroleum resources minister, with the task of resisting progress on the Trans Mountain oil pipeline expansion project from Alberta to its port in Burnaby.

Horgan said cabinet will look at regulatory options from the ministries that issue permits. Vancouver-Fairview MLA George Heyman, a former executive director of Sierra Club B.C., takes over as environment minister.

Green Party leader Andrew Weaver attended the ceremony and congratulated Horgan.

“This minority government is a once-in-a-lifetime chance to do politics differently in British Columbia,” Weaver said. “We have an historic opportunity to put partisan politics aside and work together across party lines to advance good public policy that is in the best interests of British Columbians.”

Fort Langley-Aldergrove MLA Rich Coleman, moving from deputy premier to opposition MLA, wasn’t in a cooperative mood

“This #GreeNDP government was not recognized by the majority of B.C. and will pander to minority interests at the expense of the majority,” Coleman said on Twitter as the swearing-in ceremony was about to get underway.

Here is the complete list of new NDP cabinet appointments:

  • Minister of Advanced Education, Skills and Training – Hon. Melanie Mark
  • Minister of Agriculture – Hon. Lana Popham
  • Attorney General – Hon. David Eby
  • Minister of Children and Family Development – Hon. Katrine Conroy
  • Minister of State for Child Care – Hon. Katrina Chen
  • Minister of Citizens’ Services – Hon. Jinny Sims
  • Minister of Education – Hon. Rob Fleming
  • Minister of Energy, Mines and Petroleum Resources – Hon. Michelle Mungall
  • Minister of Environment and Climate Change Strategy – Hon. George Heyman
  • Minister of Finance and Deputy Premier – Hon. Carole James
  • Minister of Forests, Lands, Natural Resource Operations, and Rural Development – Hon. Doug Donaldson
  • Minister of Health – Hon. Adrian Dix
  • Minister of Indigenous Relations and Reconciliation – Hon. Scott Fraser
  • Minister of Jobs, Trade, and Technology – Hon. Bruce Ralston
  • Minister of State for Trade – Hon. George Chow
  • Minister of Labour – Hon. Harry Bains
  • Minister of Mental Health and Addictions – Hon. Judy Darcy
  • Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing – Hon. Selina Robinson
  • Minister of Public Safety and Solicitor General – Hon. Mike Farnworth
  • Minister of Social Development and Poverty Reduction – Hon. Shane Simpson
  • Minister of Tourism, Arts and Culture – Hon. Lisa Beare
  • Minister of Transportation and Infrastructure – Hon. Claire Trevena

Parliamentary secretaries:

  • Parliamentary Secretary for Emergency Preparedness – Jennifer Rice
  • Parliamentary Secretary for Poverty Reduction – Mable Elmore
  • Parliamentary Secretary for Seniors – Anne Kang
  • Parliamentary Secretary for Sport and Multiculturalism – Ravi Kahlon
  • Parliamentary Secretary for Technology – Rick Glumac
  • Parliamentary Secretary for Translink – Bowinn Ma
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