Public Affairs Update Header
Issue 30 September 10, 2012
In This Issue
Premier Clark Shuffles Cabinet
BC Ranks First in Job Growth
BC Conservative Party Leadership Under Close Watch
Former Attorney General Named Chief Legal Strategist for Enbridge Hearing
Dear Susan,

The Public Affairs Update is your weekly insight, perspective and analysis on politics in British Columbia and Canada.  This newsletter is brought to you by the largest, and most broadly-based business organization in the province, the BC Chamber of Commerce – the Voice of Business in BC.
Premier Clark Shuffles Cabinet
Premier Christy Clark announced changes to her Executive Council last week. The Cabinet represents the Government’s leadership team in the run up to the May 2013 election, and failing additional resignations, positions a handful of Ministers to carry forward key priorities such as the 2013/14 Budget and fiscal plan and an expected new iteration of the “Jobs Plan”. A new Cabinet Committee has been formed to focus on “family affordability” issues.

Minister of Energy and Mines, Rich Coleman takes over from Kevin Falcon as Deputy Premier and co-Chairs with the Premier the Policy and Priorities Committee of Cabinet; “Natural Gas” was also included in the Minister’s title. Minister of Jobs, Tourism and Skills Training and Minister Responsible for Labour, Pat Bell will take on responsibilities for skills training and labour. Hon. Margaret MacDiarmid is now the Minister of Health in BC.

New or MLAs returning to Cabinet include: Moira Stilwell, Ralph Sultan, Bill Bennett, Ben Stewart, and Norm Letnick. Read the BC Chamber News Release or view the full list of new cabinet positions.

BC Ranks First in Job Growth
In August 2011, BC ranked first in job growth, followed by Alberta, Quebec and Ontario. In the last year, BC has seen an increase of 51,700 jobs throughout the province.

This past month, BC gained 14,900 jobs and part-time employment increased by 18,600. This offset the decline of 3,700 in full-time positions. Strong gains were reported in transportation and warehousing, public administration, and accommodation and food services.

BC’s unemployment rate dropped to 6.7 per cent, below the national average of 7.3 per cent.

BC Conservative Party Leadership Under Close Watch
The BC Conservative Party continues to be divided around its party’s leadership.

After originally disseminating emails asking party members to vote ‘yes’ in a leadership review, party vice-president Ben Besler has recently criticized John Cummins, the party leader, for his $4,000/month salary. Conversely, Al Siebring, who is running for party president, has criticized Besler for creating discontent within the party.

Leadership review votes will be counted at the party’s annual general meeting on September 22, 2012.

Former Attorney General Named Chief Legal Strategist for Enbridge Hearing
Premier Christy Clark has announced that Geoff Plant, a former Attorney General, would lead BC’s cross-examination at the Enbridge Northern Gateway pipeline hearings, currently taking place in Edmonton.

Although regulatory lawyers from within the BC Ministry of Environment will be responsible for asking questions, Plant will act as the chief legal strategist. During cross-examination, he will focus on the proposed pipeline’s financial liability for spill response and prevention.

The Northern Gateway hearings will run until December 2012 in Edmonton, Prince George, and Prince Rupert.

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This weekly report produced for the BC Chamber of Commerce by Fleishman-Hillard.  While every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of the information included in this publication as of the date of issue, events and government policies are subject to frequent change.  Therefore, the BC Chamber of Commerce and Fleishman-Hillard cannot assume any responsibility for actions taken solely or principally on the basis on the information contained herein.