What Christy Clark said and what Christy Clark meant with today's cabinet shuffle

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      Premier Christy Clark spouted the usual blather in a news release announcing a minor cabinet shuffle.

      Here's what she said:

      “Today’s changes are about making sure British Columbians in every region benefit from our plan to create jobs by growing our strong and diverse economy," said Clark. “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.”

      Here's what the premier meant:

      • I've taken away responsibility for the Liquor Distribution Branch from Justice Minister Suzanne Anton because she's become a favourite target of the NDP's David Eby. Anton has been a disaster with this file.

      • I've given responsibility for the Liquor Distribution Branch to another one of my most loyal rookie MLAs, Coralee Oakes. That's because Oakes, like Anton, will still follow Deputy Premier Rich Coleman's instructions on how to maximize government revenue while pleasing billionaire grocery barons who will be major campaign contributors in 2017. But I believe that Oakes will be a better salesperson than Anton.

      • I've taken away the Ministry of Community, Sport, and Cultural Development from Oakes. That's because I need a former public-relations executive (Peter Fassbender) to manage communications with municipal politicians leading up to the next election. Fassbender used to be a big shot at the Union of B.C. Municipalities and he knows how those people think.

      • I've given responsibility for TransLink to Fassbender because he's just as good at public relations as TransLink's biggest nemesis, Jordan Bateman of the Canadian Taxpayers Federation. They're both from Langley and if anyone can shut up Bateman, it will be Fassbender. That's crucial as we try to get a rapid-transit project started in Surrey before the 2017 election.

      Peter Fassbender (left) will be the premier's point man on TransLink.

      • I didn't want to dump Oakes from cabinet because she represents a swing seat, Cariboo North, which is central to our reelection strategy. So I bumped up small business from a "minister of state" responsibility to a full cabinet post with a deputy minister. This should help bring the Canadian Federation of Independent Businesses more onside before the next election.

      • I had to do something with Naomi Yamamoto, who was the minister of state for small business. I'm never going to make her a cabinet minister with her own deputy minister because she refused to back my leadership bid. So instead, I'll have her report to another one of my favourite rookies, Todd Stone, who's the minister of transportation and infrastructure. Yamamoto can be the minister of state for emergency preparedness. Then if there's a problem with forest fires or an unexpected earthquake, she can be blamed.

      Naomi Yamamoto remains a minister of state, this time reporting to Todd Stone.

      • I'm making Mike Bernier the minister of education because someone has to fill Fassbender's shoes. Bernier's a former mayor of Dawson Creek and he represents Peace River South, which is where there's lots of natural gas. If I'm going to start talking about climate change publicly to keep urban voters, I have to send a signal that an MLA from the gas-producing region has a voice at the table. If he's overseeing education, maybe he can help those folks at the Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers who want to influence what's happening in classrooms. Plus, I like appointing rookies to cabinet and letting competent veterans like Gordon Hogg and Moira Stilwell know that they'll pay a price for not backing my leadership campaign.

      • I'm making Jordan Sturdy the new parliamentary secretary for energy literacy. He'll replace Bernier. Why? Because Sturdy is keenly interested in run-of-river power and he's a former mayor, like Bernier. They both have good relationships with municipal politicians, which might come in handy when we want to recruit candidates for the 2017 campaign. Besides, Sturdy's a rookie and I prefer promoting politicians who didn't serve under Gordon Campbell.

      Moira Stilwell is still not in the cabinet after running against Christy Clark for leader.
      Stephen Hui




      Jul 30, 2015 at 11:24am

      Right on the mark, especially with Liquor Distribution. You would l have to be insane not to know who is running that file. Actually Coleman is probably running most files, Christy just does what she is told and regurgitates the talking points ( beautifully if I might add)! By the way, David Eby will eat Coralee Oakes alive in the legislature. She appears so nervous under pressure and so uniformed in her knowledge. I think that is because she studied under Christy , Baffle them with your rhetoric Clark.

      Marilyn Keibel

      Jul 30, 2015 at 11:38am

      Oh, he is so right on!!!

      one day

      Jul 30, 2015 at 12:40pm

      elected officials will stop playing politics and start providing real leadership... and then hell will freeze over. good read charlie.


      Jul 30, 2015 at 12:55pm

      Excellent summary. I feel like I've taken a terrifying peek into the mind of a powerful, dangerous, amoral woman.

      SPY vs SPY

      Jul 30, 2015 at 1:08pm

      Dear ONE DAY,

      Right Wing Politics is not about "Providing Real Leadership" - Never has been & Never will be!!!!!

      If you really want to "Piss Off" a Right Wing Politician - Call them a LEADER - Politicians Do Not Lead

      They follow the Big Money - and that's all there is to it


      Jul 30, 2015 at 1:20pm

      Worse government ever.

      Mad as hell and not gonna take it anymore...

      Jul 30, 2015 at 1:56pm

      I hosted a dinner party recently, all were active or recently retired executives from the oil and construction service industry. Our discussion regarding the political landscape in BC was animated to say the least. One point we agreed on unanimously however is Ms Clark is a terrible leader and premier, perhaps our worst ever. I emphasize, this was not a group of lefties talking but very conservative minded business people.

      G. Barry Stewart

      Jul 30, 2015 at 2:35pm

      It was refreshing to get a behind-the-curtain look at what Christy/ her handlers are thinking. (Nice of them to provide the Straight with the notes, LOL!)

      On another topic: how is it that I click a "thumbs-up" that has a score of zero and all of a sudden it's a "5"? Is this the same counter as Christy used when she won the leadership?


      Jul 30, 2015 at 2:40pm

      Ms Anton was overmatched and often ill-prepared at Vancouver City Council. She was unaware that the RCMP are closing their civilian oversight office in Surrey, Canada's largest RCMP district ( out of the loop? ) and the flip-flops on the liquor file show no leadership.
      Too bad Stephanie Cadieux wasn't shown the door, she's long past due.

      Lost in Lotusland

      Jul 30, 2015 at 3:39pm

      I think Fassbender got shuffled so he can fix Translink just like he "fixed" the BCTF, and while he is at he might also take a run at "fixing" the Broadway Subway line and its number one fan boy, Gregor Robertson.

      I also think Jordan Sturdy's promotion has a lot more to do with the fact that the Woodfiber LNG proposal in his riding than run of the river or that he used to be Mayor of Pemberton.

      Besides that this analysis is pretty much bang on.