Joy MacPhail, a former NDP health minister, endorses Vancouver-Kingsway MLA Adrian Dix for NDP leader in 2011 (Black Press)

Premier John Horgan appoints new ICBC, BC Hydro chairs

Christy Clark appointees Barry Penner, Brad Bennett out

Premier John Horgan has appointed new board members for key Crown corporations BC Hydro and the Insurance Corporation of B.C.

Former NDP cabinet minister Joy MacPhail takes over as chair of the ICBC board, replacing former B.C. Liberal cabinet minister Barry Penner.

Kenneth G. Peterson replaces Brad Bennett, advisor to former premier Christy Clark, as chair of the BC Hydro board. Peterson is a veteran of the electricity industry who has spent the last 10 years as CEO of Powerex, BC Hydro’s marketing and electricity trading subsidiary.

Cathy McLay, chief financial officer at Translink, is appointed to the board of directors of ICBC. McLay also sits on the board of Coast Mountain Bus Company, the BC Rapid Transit Company, Providence Health Care and is a former general mananger at Canadian Forest Products Ltd.

Horgan appointed Cassie Doyle, a former federal and B.C. deputy minister, as chair of the BC Housing Management Commission.

BC Hydro and ICBC rate increases were key issues in the election campaign this spring. Horgan promised to freeze BC Hydro rates, which would overturn a BC Liberal 10-year rate plan with increases totalling 28 per cent over five years.

The NDP also promised to reduce the rate of increase in ICBC insurance, which has been driven by higher accident and personal injury claims in recent years.

BC Hydro’s rate plan currently mandates increases of four per cent this year (already in effect as an interim rate), 3.5 per cent in 2018 and three per cent in 2019.

After that, the BC Liberals promised to turn decisions for rate increases back over to the independent BC Utilities Commission. Horgan has railed for years about political interference in BC Hydro rates, but his proposed freeze amounts to the same thing.

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