Much has been made of Premier Christy Clark’s cabinet. It’s smaller. It has more women. It has new blood.
But are things really different?
Most of the ministers were part of the Gordon Campbell administration that pushed through controversial policies like the harmonized sales tax. Does a new premier and rearranging the chairs mean they are no longer accountable for past wrong-doings?
Some of the new portfolios seem like a hodge-podge – odds and ends thrown together. What does labour and citizens services have to do with open government? Why is housing with energy and mines? How did the interests of municipalities and regional districts get lumped in with sports and culture?
Questions should also arise about some of Clark’s appointments, and particularly Ida Chong as community development minister.
When Chong was responsible for municipalities and regional districts before, she launched a review of governance in the Okanagan. It created substantial divisions among communities and considerable resources were put towards the process. But at the end of the day, nothing happened. In the North Okanagan, many local politicians lost faith in Chong and Campbell ultimately shuffled her off to another department.
Does Clark actually have faith in Chong’s abilities to do the job this time around, or is the appointment more related to the premier’s goal of having more women in cabinet?
Time will tell how successful Clark will be as premier, but based on her cabinet, claims of putting a fresh look on government ring hollow.
Vernon Morning Star