Monday, November 16, 2020

With a bounty of options, Premier Horgan gets to work on creating his next cabinet ... with North Coast residents awaiting his decisions and the fate of MLA Jennifer Rice

With some strong results from the 2020 provincial election and a number of new MLA's from some previously untapped areas of the province, Premier John Horgan has a challenge ahead of him when it comes to building a new cabinet to chart the government's course for the next four years for the NDP.

Now that the final results are in, the Premier has his choice of 57 MLA's including representation from some key urban areas of Vancouver and into the Fraser Valley, takeaways from the BC Liberals that will no doubt factor into how the Premier shapes his new inner circle of ministers.

Along with the need to ensure that those new territories are recognized for their shift in political dynamic, the Premier will also have to remain faithful to the NDP's regional requirements and commitment to equity that had been the focus of the first term for the Horgan government.

The Premier also has benefitted from some strong new bench support in the way of a trio of former NDP MP's who now will be double dipping dippers, as they take their place in procincial politics in Victoria.

In the Northwest Nathan Cullen won his seat with a significant majority in Stikine and is considered a strong candidate for the cabinet, as are Murray Rankin in Oak Bay-Gordon Head and Fin Donnelly in Coquitlam-Burke Mountain.

With seven former cabinet ministers now retired from the political tumult of Victoria, the Premier will be weighing of the returning MLA's who to shift, who to promote and who perhaps to drop from the cabinet spotlight.

Key to his early decisions will be whether to keep some of the high profile Ministers such as Adrian Dix in Health and Rob Fleming in Education where they are with the province still in the grip of the COVID pandemic.

Also at the top of his cabinet making list is to find the right candidate to take on the Finance Minister portfolio, as important a decision as he may ever make, that as he looks to find someone to fill the shoes of the stellar work that former Finance Minister Carole James provided during her time in office.

Richard Zussman of Global News, provided a bit of a tip sheet over the weekend to offer some guidance as to where some of the NDP's top talent may be heading and how the Premier may view filling the spots on the NDP roster.

One person who surely took note of Mr. Zussman's reviews of Friday night, was North Coast MLA Jennifer Rice.

Ms. Rice was appointed as Parliamentary Secretary for Emergency Preparedness in July of 2017, with Mr. Zussman observing how she could once again be in consideration for some form of a political post when the cabinet and Parliamentary Secretary announcements are made.

From Global BC's weekend review of the options for
Cabinet for Premier John Horgan

What North Coast constituents will be watching for is to see if the long serving MLA is finally elevated to an inner cabinet position, or if she remains along the outer ring, just outside of the cabinet door. 

Or in a worst case scenario for the region, if with Mr. Horgan's while considering a range of options in the end banishes the North Coast to the back benches.

In the end it may all come down to how the various drawers to Mr. Horgan's cabinet fit together, as to whether the Northwest will continue to have the same level of participation in defining government policy, that is expected to be known sometime later this month.

Some other past themes on the Premier's options can be explored  below:

BC  NDP majority gives John Horgan advantages in choosing new cabinet, political watchers say
Diversity key to new BC NDP cabinet: UBC prof
What will John Horgan's next cabinet look like?
With many new MLA's and 7 departed ministers, John Horgan faces tough choices in forming next cabinet
Horgan's cabinet has many openings for newcomers and veterans after election victory

For more notes related to the British Columbia Legislature see our archive page here.

You can explore more of the cabinet speculation out of Victoria from our political blog D'Arcy McGee and our Victoria Viewpoints archive.


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