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

A sign indicating a COVID-19 testing site is displayed inside a parking garage in West Nyack, N.Y., Monday, Nov. 30, 2020. The site was only open to students and staff of Rockland County schools in an effort to test enough people to keep the schools open for in-person learning. (AP Photo/Seth Wenig)
4 more deaths, 54 new cases of COVID-19 in Interior Health

This brings the total to 66 deaths in the region

11 more cases of COVID-19 have been linked to a cluster on Big White Mountain. Pictured above is TELUS park at Big White Ski Resort, Jan. 26. (Big White Ski Resort)
11 more cases of COVID-19 linked to Big White cluster

This brings the total case count to 225, according to health authorities in a Tuesday update

Okanagan Clinical Trials is looking at gut bacteria as a way of slowing down the development of Alzheimer’s. (Alzheimer Society of B.C. photo)
Okanagan study looking for volunteers of people diagnosed with Alzheimer’s

The study is looking at how gut bacteria may help slow the disease

Dr. Hadi Mohammadi is the lead researcher at UBCO's Heart Valve Performance Lab. (University of BC Okanagan)
UBCO researches redesign mechanical heart valve to improve blood flow

The redesigned mechanical heart valve will also help prevent clots

Kevin Lee Barrett pleaded guilty to the aggravated assault of his mother Eleanor Holmes on Tuesday, Jan. 26. (File)
UPDATE: West Kelowna man who beat his mom could be sentenced up to 9 years

Kevin Barrett entered a surprise guilty plea to the lesser charge of aggravated assault on Tuesday morning

Dr. Penny Ballem, a former deputy health minister, discusses her role in leading B.C.’s COVID-19 vaccination program, at the B.C. legislature, Jan. 22, 2021. (B.C. government)
B.C. holds steady with 407 new COVID-19 cases Tuesday

14 deaths, no new outbreaks in the health care system

Vernon Fire Rescue Services responded to reports of a structure fire on Valleyview Place Jan. 26, 2021. (Brendan Shykora - Vernon Morning Star)
Fire snuffed in Vernon home

No visible smoke, flames from area of reported structure fire

A Cessna 170 airplane similar to the one pictured above is reported to be missing off the waters between Victoria and Washington State. Twitter photo/USCG
Canadian, American rescue crews searching for missing aircraft in waters near Victoria

The search is centered around the waters northeast of Port Angeles

Interior Health reported two more COVID-19 deaths at Sunnybank Retirement Center in Oliver Tuesday, Jan. 26, 2021. (File photo)
COVID-19 claims lives of two more South Okanagan care home residents

Five residents of the Oliver care home have died since the outbreak was first declared

Vernon now has an approved 13 cannabis shops in town. (Jennifer Smith - Morning Star)
Vernon, the ‘Pot capital of B.C.’ greenlights two new stores downtown

Two more shops, within 240 metres, approved, despite neighbouring businesses opposition

Jonathon Muzychka and Dean Reber are wanted on Canada-wide warrants. (Courtesy of Victoria Police Department)
Convicted killer, robber at large after failing to return to facility: Victoria police

Dean Reber, 60, and Jonathon Muzychka, 43, may be together

Oliver Elementary School
Former Oliver PAC treasurer charged with fraud returns to court

Belinda Yorke will be in court to fix a date for trial in February

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Two fibreglass bees were stolen from Vernon’s Planet Bee Honey Farm Nov. 22, 2020. (Facebook)
Stolen bee returned to Vernon honey farm

Two months after thieves buzzed off with two bee sculptures, public tips led police one of them

Most Read