Kootenay East MLA Tom Shypitka takes over as energy and mines critic for the B.C. Liberal opposition. Kelowna-Lake Country MLA Norm Letnick (right) moves from health critic to assistant deputy speaker. (Hansard TV)

Kootenay East MLA Tom Shypitka takes over as energy and mines critic for the B.C. Liberal opposition. Kelowna-Lake Country MLA Norm Letnick (right) moves from health critic to assistant deputy speaker. (Hansard TV)

B.C. Liberals pick critics to take on Horgan’s NDP majority

Interim leader Shirley Bond takes seniors, long-term care

The B.C. Liberal opposition has selected its critics to respond to Premier John Horgan’s new majority government, with interim leader Shirley Bond taking on a new role of seniors and long-term care.

Bond said Monday the 28-member official opposition is taking a team approach to the COVID-19 crisis, and will share the load with rookie Kelowna-Mission MLA Renee Merrifeld, who takes on the role of health critic. Former health critic Norm Letnick (Kelowna-Lake Country) becomes assistant deputy speaker.

“It’s about leading by example,” Bond said of her own role in releasing the lineup Nov. 30. “It’s about the incredibly hard work that all of our critics will have to do, and I think it sends a signal about how important we think those issues are.”

Peace River South MLA Mike Bernier is the new finance critic as incoming Finance Minister Selina Robinson prepares a budget to deal with the huge demands and deficits of the pandemic. Fraser-Nicola MLA Jackie Tegart replaces Bernier as education critic, as schools have their own struggles with carrying on while controlling the spread of coronavirus infection.

Skeena MLA Ellis Ross takes over as environment and climate change critic, and Kootenay East MLA Tom Shypitka is the critic for energy and mines as B.C. carries on pipeline construction and continuing greenhouse gas reduction efforts.

RELATED: Carole James stays on to advise John Horgan

RELATED: B.C. reverts to ‘stand-alone’ forests ministry

Vancouver-Langara MLA Michael Lee has a key critic role for transportation and infrastructure. B.C. is moving to the final stages of the Kicking Horse Pass portion of the Trans-Canada Highway, with that and other sections subject to the NDP government’s union-restricted contracts. Horgan has told the new transportation minister, Rob Fleming, that that public construction model is to be used in future projects, as B.C. and Canada expect big infrastructure works to help the economy recover in the coming years.

Lee was one of the candidates who ran against Vancouver-Quilchena MLA Andrew Wilkinson for the leadership after Christy Clark resigned in 2017. The other contenders include Abbotsford West MLA Mike de Jong, who becomes attorney general critic, and Kamloops South Thompson MLA Todd Stone, critic for jobs, economic recovery and innovation.

Wilkinson is not assigned a specific portfolio. Bond said he has agreed to use his extensive experience as a minister and deputy minister to “support multiple critic roles” as the opposition takes on a 57-member NDP government caucus. A brief session is scheduled to start Dec. 7.

The full list of B.C. Liberal critics:

Advanced Education, Skills Training and Sport – Coralee Oakes

Agriculture and Food – Ian Paton

Attorney General – Mike de Jong

Citizens’ Services – Bruce Banman

Children, Family Development and Child Care – Karin Kirkpatrick

Columbia Basin Initiatives – Doug Clovechok

Energy, Mines and Low Carbon Innovation – Tom Shypitka

Education – Jackie Tegart

Environment and Climate Change Strategy – Ellis Ross

Finance – Mike Bernier

Fisheries, Aquaculture and BC Ferries – Jordan Sturdy

Forests, Lands, & Natural Resources – John Rustad

Gender Equity, Accessibility & Inclusion – Stephanie Cadieux

Health – Renee Merrifield

Housing – Ben Stewart

Indigenous Relations and Reconciliation – Peter Milobar

Jobs, Economic Recovery and Innovation – Todd Stone

Labour – Greg Kyllo

Mental Health and Addictions – Trevor Halford

Municipal Affairs – Dan Ashton

Public Safety and Solicitor General – Mike Morris

Rural Development – Lorne Doerksen

Seniors Services & Long Term Care – Shirley Bond

Social Development and Poverty Reduction – Dan Davies

Tourism, Arts and Culture, and Anti-Racism Initiatives – Teresa Wat

Transportation, Infrastructure and TransLink – Michael Lee


@tomfletcherbc
tfletcher@blackpress.ca

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

BC legislatureBC politicsCoronavirus

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

The Trail Smoke Eaters fell 6-1 to the Penticton Vees on Sunday, their third loss to the perennial BCHL powerhouse six games into the 20-game season. Photo: Stephen Piccolo
Penticton Vees dominant in win over Trail Smoke Eaters

Trail Smoke Eaters enjoy two day break until their fourth meeting with Penticton Vees on Wednesday

Kalesnikoff Lumber will be providing materials for a 21-storey apartment building in Vancouver. Rendering: Henriquez Partners Architects
Kalesnikoff supplying mass timber for several major projects

The West Kootenay lumber company will be making the products at South Slocan facility

This painting is a piece from Young Visions 2021, opening April 22 at the Kootenay Gallery. Photo: S. Painter
Showcase of artwork by Kootenay Columbia students opens April 22

Young Visions 2021 runs April 22 to May 29 in the Kootenay Gallery of Art, Castlegar

Selkirk College has received provincial funding to assist students. File photo
Selkirk College receives funding to assist students

Provincial funding is available to West Kootenay students

Burnaby MLA Raj Chouhan presides as Speaker of the B.C. legislature, which opened it spring session April 12 with a speech from the throne. THE CANADIAN PRESS
B.C. NDP promises more health care spending, business support in 2021 budget

John Horgan government to ‘carefully return to balanced budgets’

A lady wears a sticker given out after receiving a COVID-19 vaccine at a clinic in Richmond, B.C., Saturday, April 10, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS
B.C.’s COVID-19 case count slows after last week’s peak

3,219 new cases since Friday, 18 additional deaths

North Cowichan councillor Tek Manhas did not violate the municipality’s code of conduct by posting a sexist meme on Facebook, council concludes. (File photo)
B.C. municipality to take no action against councillor who posted sexist meme

Tek Manhas’s meme doesn’t violate North Cowichan council’s code of conduct, municipality concludes

—Image: contributed
Indoor wine tastings still allowed in B.C., not considered a ‘social gathering’

“Tasting is really just part of the retail experience. The analogy I use is you wouldn’t buy a pair of pants without trying them on.”

A sign on a shop window indicates the store is closed in Ottawa, Monday March 23, 2020. The Canadian Federation of Independent Business is raising its estimate for the number of businesses that are considering the possibility of closing permanently. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Small business struggling amid COVID-19 pandemic looks for aid in Liberals’ budget

President Dan Kelly said it is crucial to maintain programs to help businesses to the other side of the pandemic

The National Security and Intelligence Committee of Parliamentarians says that includes attempts to steal Canadian research on COVID-19 and vaccines, and sow misinformation. (AP Photo/Esteban Felix)
Intelligence committee warns China, Russia targeting Canadian COVID-19 research

Committee also found that the terrorist threat to Canada has shifted since its last such assessment

Part of the massive mess left behind in a Spallumcheen rental home owned by Wes Burden, whose tenants bolted from the property in the middle of the night. Burden is now facing a hefty cleaning and repair bill as a result. (Photo submitted)
Tenants disappear in the night leaving Okanagan home trashed with junk, feces

Spallumcheen rental rooms filled with junk, human and animal feces; landlord scared to rent again

Parliament Hill is viewed below a Canada flag in Gatineau, Quebec, Friday, Sept. 18, 2020. A new poll suggests most Canadians are feeling more grateful for what they have in 2020 as a result of COVID-19 pandemic.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Canada’s greenhouse gas emissions increased slightly in 2019: report

2019 report shows Canada emitted about one million tonnes more of these gases than the previous year

Dr. E. Kwok administers a COVID-19 vaccine to a recipient at a vaccination clinic run by Vancouver Coastal Health, in Richmond, B.C., Saturday, April 10, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
B.C. to register people ages 40+ for COVID-19 vaccines in April

Appointments are currently being booked for people ages 66 and up

Most Read