Clark shuffles cabinet for fall session

Premier Christy Clark has shuffled her cabinet lineup before the legislature reopens next week, replacing Burnaby-Lougheed MLA Harry Bloy with Surrey-Panorama MLA Stephanie Cadieux as social development minister.

Premier Christy Clark unveils her first cabinet lineup in March. Barry Penner (background) resigned as attorney general in August

VICTORIA – Premier Christy Clark has shuffled her cabinet lineup before the legislature reopens next week, replacing Burnaby-Lougheed MLA Harry Bloy with Surrey-Panorama MLA Stephanie Cadieux as social development minister.

Bloy has struggled to defend the social development ministry’s restructuring since being appointed to cabinet this spring, following the closure and restructuring of group homes for developmentally disabled people. Most recently, Community Living B.C., the agency responsible for adult disability programs, delayed for a year a decision to end funding that employs 29 people at the recycling depot in Maple Ridge.

Clark said Bloy will continue as minister of state responsible for multiculturalism, remaining in cabinet. Replacing Cadieux as labour minister is Vancouver-Fairview MLA Margaret MacDiarmid, who was dropped from cabinet when Clark took over as premier in March.

Clark said Monday that MacDiarmid’s experience as a physician and president of the B.C. Medical Association, as well as a stint as education minister, make her well suited to take over the labour ministry as negotiations with doctors and teachers continue.

NDP leader Adrian Dix said Clark’s decision to appoint Bloy to cabinet had more to do with his support for her leadership bid than his ability to defend the government’s policies.

“It’s obviously an admission that she made a very serious mistake, and continued on with that for some time,” Dix said. “The people who have paid the price are people with developmental disabilities and other people served by the ministry.”

Clark did not name a new attorney-general after Chilliwack-Hope MLA Barry Penner resigned from cabinet in August. Solicitor General Shirley Bond continues to serve in both roles, but Clark said a new attorney general will be appointed later.

Other changes to the cabinet include:

• Parksville-Qualicum MLA Ron Cantelon is appointed parliamentary secretary for seniors, reporting to the health ministry.

• Surrey-White Rock MLA Gordon Hogg takes on a new role, parliamentary secretary for non-profit partnerships to the social development ministry.

• Cariboo-Chilcotin MLA Donna Barnett is named parliamentary secretary for rural communities.

• Burnaby North MLA Richard Lee is named parliamentary secretary for Asia Pacific.