Thursday November 26, 2020 | VICTORIA, BC
by Mary P Brooke, editor | Island Social Trends
Today, the B.C. government swore 24 NDP members into cabinet after being in caretaker mode for over two months. This is the second term of office for Premier John Horgan leading his NDP government.
Within the hour, B.C. Green Party leader MLA Sonia Furstenau (Cowichan Valley) issued a statement, saying that she and fellow Green MLA Adam Olsen (Saanich North and the Islands) “congratulate and welcome all ministers to their newly appointed roles”.
“This cabinet has a significantly heavier weight of responsibility to bear than a typical new government,” wrote Furstenau, referring of course to the COVID-19 pandemic that has ravaged everyone in the province in some way or another.
“British Columbians deserve and expect urgent and immediate action on the variety of challenges facing our province,” she said.
Health emergencies and business impact:
“This government needs to keep British Columbians safe and keep our local businesses afloat through the second wave of COVID-19,” said Furstenau. “They must also not forget the urgency of the opioid crisis, the climate emergency, existing systemic inequities, and lack of affordable housing for too many people.”
Furstenau also noted that today is the anniversary of the passing of the Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples Act (DRIPA). She hopes and expects that the newly sworn-in cabinet ministers will “ensure that Indigenous partnerships and consultation are a priority and that a DRIPA lens needs to be applied to every aspect of their role”.
The new cabinet minister for Indigenous Relations and Reconciliation is Murray Rankin. He’s a first-time MLA but long-experienced former federal Member of Parliament who Horgan said today “knows the law better than anyone in this legislature”
“The Premier has said he wants to run an inclusive legislature, and we expect to see that in action immediately,” said Furstenau, as a platitude but without specifics.
She says the 2-MLA Greens in the legislative assembly look forward to working across party lines with all members in this legislature. She says her party will “strongly holding this new government to account on the decisions they make and any lack of progress on our most pressing challenges”.