Public Eye – March 17

Long-time backbencher makes move to cabinet post under Christy Clark

  • Mar. 16, 2011 12:00 p.m.

MLA Harry Bloy was rewarded for his support of Christy Clark with a spiffy new cabinet post.

He’s a big Bloy now

Before being the sole MLA to endorse winning provincial Liberal leadership candidate Christy Clark, Burnaby-Lougheed legislator Harry Bloy was perhaps best known among the media for wearing his Boy Scout uniform into the Legislature and taking international trips that were paid for by foreign governments and private businesses.

But now that Clark is premier, Bloy — who was first elected in 2001 and been a backbencher for the past ten years — has been appointed to cabinet as the minister of social development and minister responsible for multiculturalism.

Asked whether that appointment was a reward for his support, Bloy told reporters, “Today is a day to celebrate the appointment of Christy Clark as leader and premier of the province of British Columbia.”

And how about those free trips? Would he continue jetting around the world on other people’s dime as a cabinet minister?

“I look forward to my new portfolio and the challenges that it brings. Multiculturalism is something I’ve always worked on. I’ve travelled to many Asian countries and I look forward to the challenges in the future,” Bloy responded.

As such, it looks like he might soon be known for something else other than his travel habits and Boy Scout uniform.

Kinsella makes his big comeback

Last week, we opined that lobbyist Patrick Kinsella was likely well-positioned to continue offering his clients valued-added communications advice under Christy Clark’s new administration.

This, as a result of being the enviable position of being one of the few prominent Liberal insiders who supported the former CKNW talk show host’s successful leadership bid.

And that position was emphasized on Tuesday when Kinsella — whose company contributed $20,000 toward that bid — was among those who showed up at Clark’s swearing-in ceremony at Government House. Fancy that!

Lekstrom in a position to champion openness … again

In 2004, Liberal MLA Blair Lekstrom chaired a bi-partisan legislative committee that recommended measures that would have dramatically improved government openness and accountability. Those measures — which included routine disclosure of internal, electronic records and a badly-needed fix to the province’s freedom of information law — have been gathering dust since then.

But, on Tuesday, Lekstrom seemed hesitant to commit to dusting them off now that he’s been appointed vice-chair of a more powerful cabinet committee responsible for open government and engagement under the new Clark administration.

Asked about the matter by Monday, he took refuge in the fact many of his old legislative committee’s lesser recommendations were acted on by the Campbell administration.

“I’m pretty happy. I’ve watch a lot of committees over my study of politics do their work, make recommendations with none of them be acted on. So I’m pretty proud we’ve got a number acted on. Is there more work to do? Most definitely.”

Coleman absolved of sin ministry

Fort Langley-Aldergrove MLA Rich Coleman has been responsible for the government’s gambling and booze files for most of his cabinet career. But,under the new Clark administration, he’s been shuffled to head up the ministry of energy and mines.

Speaking with Monday, Coleman said he felt “fine” about losing those files, describing them as being a “bit like whack-a-moles at the PNE. One things goes down, another thing pops up.”

As such, he said, “It’s probably time someone else had that portfolio” — specifically Shirley Bond, the province’s new solicitor general. M

Sean Holman is editor of the online provincial political news journal Public Eye (publiceyeonline.com). He can be reached at editorial@publiceyeonline.com.

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