New premier David Eby wasted little time reimagining the province’s collection of ministers
It didn’t take long for David Eby to put his stamp on the NDP government he now presides over. Last week, Eby announced a reshuffling of cabinet ministers that officially announced his taking over the reins from former premier John Horgan.
While there were some holdovers from the Horgan era in important roles like health minister Adrian Dix and transportation and infrastructure minister Rob Fleming, there are also a lot of files now being handled by different ministers. Some are brand new to cabinet while others were simply given new responsibilities. Here are five moves in particular that we’re intrigued by.
1. Housing finds a new home with Ravi Kahlon
What’s that old saying about keeping your enemies close? We’re not implying that Eby and Kahlon, the former Olympian and Delta North MLA, are enemies, but the latter was seen as Eby’s only real in-government challenger for the premiership before he decided not to run.
As such, he was a prime candidate for a major cabinet post, and that’s exactly what he received, as Kahlon will be taking over housing from Eby himself. There’s arguably no file more important than this one for this government and this premier specifically. And while Eby himself will be steering a lot of the actual housing policy that’s at play, Kahlon will be heavily relied on as well.
2. Niki Sharma on trial as attorney general
The other high profile post that Eby held while in cabinet was that of attorney general. So, it stands to reason that Sharma, a relatively new MLA representing Vancouver-Hastings and a first-time cabinet minister, has a lot on her plate. Sharma, who was raised in Sparwood, a small community near Fernie, has pledged to bring different perspectives to the role after years of representing residential school survivors.
3. Bowinn Ma will weather the storm of climate
The youngest member of the legislature is taking on what’s going to be a vital role as the minister of emergency management and climate readiness. Ma is seen as a rising star in this government and her first cabinet post is a strong indication of what may be to come for her future with the party. If there were betting odds on the next NDP premier after Eby, you’d have to think that Ma’s odds would be rising higher. In an Eby government that will want to move the mark on progressive issues, the climate file will be pivotal.
4. Rachna Singh is taking care of child care
Families across the province have a lot riding on the promises the government has made around child care and Singh, another cabinet rookie, will be fighting to deliver on that. Singh, the MLA for Surrey-Green Timbers, is a former drug and alcohol counsellor and trade unionist.
5. Lana Popham will stickhandle sports
There are some big events coming to B.C. in the near future (the 2026 World Cup obviously chief among them) and Popham, the Saanich South MLA who was moved from agriculture to tourism, arts, culture and sport, has a hefty responsibility in building back B.C.’s tourism industry. Economists have stated that it will be a few years until we see pre-COVID levels of tourism, and anything that Popham can to do to make that return come quicker will be a huge boost to the province.