Former Education Minister Peter Fassbender is now Minister of Community

Premier names new education, community ministers

Mini cabinet shuffle gives TransLink oversight to Peter Fassbender, who exits turbulent education ministry after 2014 strike

BC Liberal backbencher Mike Bernier is B.C.’s new Education Minister, while predecessor Peter Fassbender takes over as Community, Sport, and Cultural Development Minister, with responsibility for TransLink as well.

The mini cabinet shuffle announced Thursday by Premier Christy Clark also shifts Coralee Oakes, who previously headed the ministry that deals with municipalities, to Minister of Small Business and Red-Tape Reduction, with responsibility for the Liquor Distribution Branch.

Fassbender headed the province’s negotiations with B.C. teachers during last year’s strike. He held out for a negotiated settlement the province achieved rather than legislating teachers back to work, as had been the pattern in several previous teacher strikes.

The removal of TransLink from Transportation Minister Todd Stone’s portfolio comes in the wake of the defeat by Metro Vancouver voters of a plebiscite on the creation of a 0.5 per cent regional sales tax to fund transit expansion.

Fassbender, a Surrey MLA, has extensive history on the TransLink file as a former Langley City Mayor who once chaired the Metro mayors’ council as it tried to persuade the province to grant a new revenue source.

Stone as minister made statements supportive of the mayors’ plan and the new tax but did not actively campaign for it during the plebiscite required by Clark on any new tax.

Fassbender, along with fellow Surrey MLA Marvin Hunt, was more blunt, at one point speaking out against No campaign critics of TransLink’s record.

“Is it totally mismanaged? I don’t believe that, I never have,” Fassbender told Black Press in March, pointing to audits in recent years. “The previous commissioner looked at it and said it was a well-run organization.”

Metro Vancouver board chair Greg Moore welcomed Fassbender’s new role.

“It think it’s a good move,” the Port Coquitlam mayor said. “He has a deep understanding of the legislation and not only the challenges but also the opportunities of being able to work together to find solutions for TransLink.”

Moore noted Fassbender, when he led the mayors’ council, was “very proud” of the agreement struck in 2010 with then-premier Gordon Campbell to negotiate a new funding source. Mayors saw Clark’s promise of a referendum as a betrayal of that deal.

NDP transportation critic Claire Trevena called the shift in TransLink responsibility a “slapdown” for Stone “because he hasn’t delivered.”

Bernier, a former Dawson Creek mayor with 20 years experience in the natural gas industry, is a first-term MLA for Peace River South.

Clark also shifted Naomi Yamamoto out of the small business ministry, making her Minister of State for Emergency Preparedness, underneath the transportation ministry.

Jordan Sturdy is now parliamentary secretary for energy literacy and the environment under Environment Minister Mary Polak – Bernier’s previous post. He’ll also chair the province’s Climate Leadership Panel.

“We have the opportunity now to build on a record of student achievement with long-term labour peace in place, to strengthen our support for small business, which is the backbone of our economy, to work together with communities to prepare for the future, and to put in place a plan to prevent and manage emergencies or natural disasters so that our province can recover with our future secured,” Clark said in a news release.

Just Posted

EDITORIAL: Federal NDP challenges evident on Kootenay campaign trip

NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh tours the Kootenays in support of local MPs, proportional representation

Police seek witnesses to fatal weekend accident

Wayne Kernachan was struck by a vehicle while responding to an accident

Forestry workers set to begin job action in Kootenays

Operations in Castlegar, Cranbrook, Galloway, Elko, Radium, Golden may see job action this week.

Castlegar pastors find life in wheelchair a challenge

The men found the obstacles were both physical and mental.

Columbia Avenue paving scheduled for weekend

Paving on Castlegar’s main thoroughfare will take place in a few days, weather permitting.

Josie Hotel will be ready on opening day, says management

West Kootenay’s first ski-in, ski-out boutique hotel to open this month

Late 2019 too long to wait for ridesharing: B.C. Conservatives

“While the rest of the world is embracing this transportation revolution, B.C. is only now staggering slowly toward legislation on a business model that’s been mainstreamed for over a decade in other jurisdictions.”

Police aim to prevent retaliation after Hells Angel found dead under B.C. bridge

IHIT confirms Chad Wilson, 43, was the victim of a ‘targeted’ homicide

No deal in sight: Canada Post warns of delivery delays into January

Union holds fifth week of rotating strikes as both sides remain apart on contract negotiations

COLUMN: Higher interest rates will slow B.C. economy after ‘unusually robust’ show

Jock Finlayson is executive vice president and chief policy officer of the Business Council of BC

Jason Aldean, Old Dominion to headline Merritt’s Rockin’ River concerts next summer

Four-day music festival at Coldwater River from Aug. 1 to 4

Police looking into two more incidents at private Toronto all-boys’ school

Police and the school have said two of the prior incidents involved an alleged sexual assault

Bovine tuberculosis found in cow on southern B.C. farm

CFIA said the disease was found during slaughter and they are investigating

Air force getting more planes but has no one to fly them, auditor warns

The report follows several years of criticism over the Trudeau government’s decision not to launch an immediate competition to replace the CF-18s.

Most Read