Friday, July 25, 2014

North Coast MLA retains critics' roles under new NDP leader John Horgan

John Horgan, has put together his shadow cabinet team of  critics for the NDP opposition in Victoria and for North Coast MLA Jennifer Rice, there won't be much of a learning curve required.

In a letter to Ms. Rice from Tuesday, Mr. Horgan outlined her appointment as Official Opposition Spokesperson for Northern and Rural Health and Deputy Spokesperson for Children and Family Development, both roles that the MLA had experience with under the leadership of Adrian Dix.

Mr. Horgan is splitting his collective of opposition members into two categories when it comes to their tasks in Victoria. A new approach to provide the NDP with a more direct approach to the policies and initiatives from Premier Christy Clark's government

Ms. Rice and thirteen other MLA's are being directed to what is called the Stronger Communities Team, while eighteen other MLA's, including Skeena's Robin Austin, have been placed in the Economic Sector of the Horgan shadow cabinet.

Mr. Austin is Mr. Horgan's selection as Official Spokesperson for Northern Economic Development.

In his correspondence to Ms. Rice, the NDP Leader outlines the expectations that come from a position in the shadow cabinet and touches on the focus that he intends to bring to Victoria in the fall when the Legislature resumes sitting in October.

As part of that focus, Horgan will be keeping a close watch on the handling of the LNG file, which the NDP believes the Liberal government of Christy Clark is mismanaging.

I expect you to spend the period leading to the fall legislative session reaching out to and meeting with individuals, businesses and organizations in your portfolio area. I recently completed a tour of the Interior. 

I was told repeatedly by business and community leaders that they feel ignored by a Premier and government entirely fixated on LNG development and unable to dea! with other problems or help other people. You know my opinion that LNG exports present an opportunity that the Premier and government are mismanaging. 

Equally concerning is the Premier's apparent inability to listen to or act for anyone else at the same time. This makes it imperative that we work to understand what is important to people in sectors and communities across the province and to advocate on their behalf in the legislature and beyond. -- John Horgan introducing his new shadow cabinet 

In his correspondence to MLA's, Mr. Horgan also provides a checklist of sorts for shadow cabinet members to follow, as they take up their duties in their role as critic.

The Shadow Cabinet has been meeting as part of a two day caucus in Vancouver this week, outlining their plan ahead for the Fall session and what key issues they intend to take to the BC Liberals.

More on what the NDP Leader and his shadow cabinet will be working on for the fall can be found in this media release from the NDP 

Some North Coast residents that might have been hoping for a higher profile for their MLA and with it an opportunity for a larger presence within the opposition ranks, will no doubt be a bit disappointed with the announcement of Tuesday.

Perhaps observing that even after two years of service in the Legislature, Ms. Rice has yet to be tasked with a higher profile portfolio that might have more resonance to the North Coast.  One that might have offered up the opportunity for her to deliver to the Legislature more of an overview to issues of importance to the region that she represents.

You can review Mr. Horgan's letter of confirmation to the North Coast MLA here.

For a full review of his shadow cabinet appointments see the mandate letters delivered to each NDP MLA here.

For more items of interest on developments from Victoria see our Legislature archive page.

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