British Columbia Premier David Eby appointed a blend of new and old faces to his shuffled cabinet Wednesday, including some first-time ministers in major portfolios.
The new cabinet is made up of 23 ministers and four ministers of state. At least seven of the 27 appointed are new additions.
In a significant move, Eby promoted Niki Sharma from parliamentary secretary for community development into his previous job as attorney general.
The premier also moved Ravi Kahlon from the jobs ministry to take over the new standalone housing ministry, which will be one of the most closely watched portfolios of Eby’s first term.
As expected, the new premier kept seasoned veterans like Adrian Dix and Mike Farnworth in charge of the ministries of health and public safety, respectively. George Heyman will also continue as environment minister, while Rob Fleming will stay with transportation.
Lt.-Gov. Janet Austin is swearing in the new cabinet during a ceremony at Government House in Victoria at 10 a.m. PT.
CBC News is livestreaming the ceremony.
In other cabinet moves, former education minister Jennifer Whiteside is shifting to the Ministry of Mental Health and Addictions. Another parliamentary secretary, Rachna Singh, will make a big move up to take over education.
Sheila Malcolmson will transfer to the social development and poverty portfolio.
Previous agriculture minister Lana Popham has been moved to the tourism, arts and culture portfolio after her predecessor, Melanie Mark, resigned from cabinet in September.
Since taking office, Eby has quickly staked out health care, public safety, affordability and housing as his NDP government’s priority issues.
WATCH | David Eby is sworn in as premier in November:
David Black, a political communications expert at Victoria’s Royal Roads University, said the new cabinet could foreshadow an early election call. B.C.’s budget has a projected surplus nearing $6 billion this year, but with an expected economic slowdown, the timing may be right for a fall 2023 election rather than the scheduled 2024 vote.
Eby, 46, became B.C.’s 37th premier last month, replacing former premier John Horgan, who announced last summer he was stepping down due to health concerns.
In his first weeks in office, Eby announced more than $1 billion in initiatives, including funding more police officers and health professionals, providing income relief, electricity bill credits and forming the standalone Ministry of Housing.
The new cabinet is as follows:
- Premier: David Eby
- Agriculture and Food: Pam Alexis
- Attorney General: Niki Sharma
- Children and Family Development: Mitzi Dean
- Citizens’ Services: Lisa Beare
- Education and Child Care: Rachna Singh
- Minister of State for Child Care: Grace Lore
- Emergency Management and Climate Readiness: Bowinn Ma
- Energy, Mines and Low Carbon Innovation: Josie Osborne
- Environment and Climate Change Strategy: George Heyman
- Finance: Katrine Conroy
- Forests: Bruce Ralston
- Health and Minister Responsible for Francophone Affairs: Adrian Dix
- Housing and Government House Leader: Ravi Kahlon
- Indigenous Relations and Reconciliation: Murray Rankin
- Jobs, Economic Development and Innovation: Brenda Bailey
- Labour: Harry Bains
- Mental Health and Addictions: Jennifer Whiteside
- Municipal Affairs: Anne Kang
- Post-Secondary Education and Future Skills: Selina Robinson
- Public Safety and Solicitor General: Mike Farnworth
- Social Development and Poverty Reduction: Sheila Malcolmson
- Tourism, Arts, Culture and Sport: Lana Popham
- Transportation and Infrastructure: Rob Fleming
- Water, Land and Resource Stewardship (Fisheries): Nathan Cullen