Two local MLAs are prominent in Premier Christy Clark’s new cabinet, and a third has been recognized with a parliamentary secretary post.
Clark named former leadership rival Kevin Falcon (Surrey-Cloverdale) as Minister of Finance, and Stephanie Cadieux (Surrey-Panorama) to the newly created combined portfolio of Labour, Citizens Services and Open Government.
And while Gordon Hogg (Surrey-White Rock) was not named a cabinet member in Monday’s announcement, he was appointed Parliamentary Secretary for Non-Profit Partnerships to Cadieux’s ministry.
Falcon vowed to do “an information job” rather than a “sales job” in advance of the planned referendum on the HST, which could come as early as June.
Cadieux said she is looking forward to the challenge of her new portfolio – which, in effect, has her wearing four hats, including the non-profit partnership component.
“I’m honoured to be there and have that faith put in me,” she said, adding that while she didn’t seek the posts specifically, she was aware she was being considered for them.
Cadieux said she doesn’t see any problems looming on the horizon for the labour component of her portfolio.
“It’s important that we always make sure that people who work have a good circumstances for that,” she said.
“Overall we have a good situation in B.C., but that doesn’t mean that there isn’t room for improvement.”
Cadieux said she also looks forward to making it easier for the public to interact with the provincial government, an area in which she feels that Citizens Services – formerly a separate ministry – has already made strides.
“It’s easy for any large organization to be very comfortable with the way it operates, and to forget that it’s different for somebody on the outside who doesn’t know where to go. (People) have to get the right level of service when they need it.”
Cadieux said the open government aspect of her new job is a good fit for her as a former member of the provincial government’s freedom of information and privacy committee.
She said that she believes technological developments can lead to better ways of keeping the public informed about government decision-making, although high expectations and misunderstandings may always be part of the picture.
“Part of the job is is to say what do we need, what does this mean and how do we move forward – what are the steps?” she said.
“I think, realistically, there will always be some challenges when it comes to the public’s understanding of how government operates – this won’t be the be-all, end-all, but it can be a really good step in how we build an interaction.”
Cadieux said she is also looking forward to working with Hogg on developing partnerships with non-profit organizations in the province.
“I’m really excited I’ll be working with Gordie on that, because it follows a lot of the work he has already been doing in social innovation and entrepreneurship,” she said. “Non-profits throughout B.C. include a wide range of organizations and a lot of them operate as service providers – they either have contracts with government or they could have.”
Falcon could not be reached for further comment at press time.