Arts and non-profit advocates can claim a small victory today, as Premier Christy Clark has wrested gaming policy and enforcement from Minister Rich Coleman, who had held on to the portfolio for ten years. Coleman is now Minister of Energy and Mines (minister responsible for Housing).
Last Friday, the Alliance for Arts and Culture and the B.C. Association of Charitable Gaming called on Clark to remove Coleman as minister responsible for gaming policy, and it appears Clark was listening. Coleman has been replaced by Shirley Bond as Minister of Public Safety and Solicitor General, whose responsibilities include gaming policy and enforcement.
Clark also anointed a new arts minister. Ida Chong takes over from Stephanie Cadieux as Minister of Community, Sport and Cultural Development. (Cadieux has been named Minister of Labour, Citizens’ Services and Open Government.) A notable addition to the culture ministry’s general responsibilities is “community gaming grant eligibility”, a sign that Clark has taken seriously the concerns of the arts and non-profit sector, many of whom were cut out of the gaming grant process altogether in the past two years.
Oak Bay-Gordon Head MLA Ida Chong recently survived a recall attempt headed by the anti-HST organizers.