Four Liberal MLAs with strong connections to Langley heard their names called on Friday afternoon at a large event at the Vancouver Convention Centre, as Premier Christy Clark announced her new cabinet.
It was part of a whirlwind of activity on the provincial scene. On Thursday, Clark announced she will run in a byelection in Westside-Kelowna, as newly-elected MLA Ben Stewart is prepared to give up his seat.
The four are part of a 20-member cabinet (including Clark) that was formally sworn in Monday at Government House in Victoria. Lieutenant-Governor Judith Guichon administered the oaths of office to the new ministers.
Once again, Fort Langley-Aldergrove MLA Rich Coleman has been given plenty of responsibility within Clark’s government. Coleman, who chaired the BC Liberals’ election campaign, will continue to serve as deputy premier.
He has also been appointed the province’s first-ever Minister of Natural Gas Development. He also holds onto his post as minister responsible for housing. However, Coleman has given up responsibility for gambling and liquor. He has overseen those two areas since his days as minister of public safety in the first Gordon Campbell administration. Coleman has been an MLA since 1996.
Finance Minister Mike de Jong will now be responsible for gaming, while Justice Minister Suzanne Anton will be responsible for liquor policy.
Langley MLA Mary Polak, who has held numerous cabinet positions since first being elected in 2005, is B.C.’s new Minister of Environment. She take over from Terry Lake, who was named Minister of Health.
Meanwhile, two prominent Langley figures who will leave their current jobs to serve their constituents in neighbouring Surrey, have also been appointed to cabinet.
Surrey-Fleetwood MLA Peter Fassbender, who has announced he will step down as Langley City mayor in July, was named Minister of Education. Fassbender was a Langley school trustee in the 1970s.
Surrey-Tynehead’s Amrik Virk, an inspector with the RCMP at the Langley detachment, becomes Minister of Advanced Education. Virk is a former board member of Kwantlen Polytechnic University.
A third Surrey MLA, Stephanie Cadieux, who represents Surrey-Cloverdale, is continuing in her role as Minister of Children and Family Development. Cadieux had formerly represented the Surrey-Panorama riding.