Over the past two decades, Canada has seen the rise of federal ministers' regional offices, which advance the political interests of the party in power.
B.C.'s last regional minister, James Moore, was a Conservative powerhouse who had his fingers in most key federal political issues in this province, including the closure of the Kitsilano Coast Guard Station.
The election of a new Liberal government raises questions about who might succeed Moore as the most important federal cabinet minister from B.C.
Here are my odds-on favourites:
Hedy Fry (1:1) The Vancouver Centre MP is B.C.'s longest-serving current parliamentarian and she was an early supporter of Justin Trudeau's leadership. Given Trudeau's promise for gender equality in cabinet, she's not likely to remain a backbencher and quite possibly will become Canada's next health minister. Fry also represents an important riding—a.k.a. Downtown Vancouver—that is home to many businesses, professional firms, and arts organizations, not to mention Granville Island.
Joyce Murray (3:1) Murray, who represents Vancouver Quadra, has cabinet experience in the Gordon Campbell–led provincial government and she ran a surprisingly strong campaign for leadership of the party. But the fact that she ran against Trudeau probably won't help her become the B.C. regional minister. As a politician, she has a Greenish tinge that might not sit well with fossil-fuel-industry lobbyists who have supported the Liberals in the past.
Pamela Goldsmith-Jones (6:1) The former mayor of West Vancouver has some strengths. She won her West Vancouver–Sunshine Coast–Sea to Sky Country riding in a landslide. She also understands regional politics, which is an important consideration. But her lack of parliamentary experience still makes her a longshot for the regional minister's position. She'll only get it if Trudeau decides for some reason that he doesn't want Fry or Murray in this position.
Jody Wilson-Raybould (8:1) The former regional chief of the Assembly of First Nations won Vancouver-Granville handily. She also has good insights into provincial issues and her legal training might help her avoid mistakes that others might make. But with no experience in Parliament, it would be a surprise to see her named as the regional minister.
Jonathan Wilkinson (10:1) The new MP for North Vancouver is a former high-tech CEO and a Rhodes scholar. He has a decent chance at a junior cabinet post, but it would be a stretch for Trudeau to appoint a political neophyte as the regional minister.
Sukh Dhaliwal (15:1) Dhaliwal was elected in a landslide in Surrey-Newton and he has experience as an MP. Surrey is also increasingly important for the Liberals' future. However, he was convicted on a tax charge a while back and that should knock him out of the race, at least over the short to medium term.
The rest of the B.C. Liberal MPs (20:1) There's a lot of talent in the B.C. Liberal caucus, but likely not enough political experience for any to be named a regional minister. Keep an eye on Ken Hardie, who's the new Liberal MP for Fleetwood–Port Kells. He's a former broadcaster who spent many years working as the spokesperson for TransLink and ICBC. He might turn out to have a fair amount of influence over federal decisions involving transportation in the Lower Mainland.