As an election looms, Christy Clark gives Fazil Mihlar a promotion

    1 of 1 2 of 1

      Premier Christy Clark has appointed a former Fraser Institute policy analyst as B.C.'s deputy minister overseeing climate leadership.

      Fazil Mihlar was an assistant deputy minister to Advanced Education Minister Andrew Wilkinson before today's announcement.

      From 1994 to 1999, Mihlar was employed by the Fraser Institute, which has published papers downplaying the impact that human beings are having on the climate.

      After a brief stint at the Royal Bank, Mihlar moved on to being an editorial page editor, editorial writer, columnist, and associate editor of the Vancouver Sun, where he remained until 2013.

      When Mihlar joined the B.C. government after the 2013 election, he oversaw a new oil and strategic initiatives division under Deputy Premier Rich Coleman.

      At the time, Mihlar's former Vancouver Sun colleague, Harvey Enchin, wrote: "The smartest guy in the room is now the smartest guy in government. Supremely well-organized, great people skills, amazing project developer and respected team leader."

      Mihlar, who was born in Sri Lanka, appears to be the only deputy minister of colour in the Christy Clark government.

      Other changes announced

      Meanwhile, Clark has given new responsibilities to two prominent B.C. Liberals with just over a year before the next provincial election.

      Lawyer Clark Roberts, who used to work for the B.C. Liberal caucus, is the new deputy minister for the Ministry of International Trade and the Asia Pacific Gateway.

      Neil Sweeney, a deputy minister to Clark and key B.C. Liberal insider in the 2013 election campaign, will oversee the intergovernmental relations secretariat.

      There's also a new deputy minister of jobs, tourism, skills training, and labour: Shannon Baskerville. She was assistant deputy minister responsible for multiculturalism from September 2011 to September 2012 when a great deal of planning took place on the B.C. Liberals' multicultural outreach strategy.

      A subsequent report by the premier's deputy minister, John Dyble, found that $975,000 was allocated in May 2012 for a proposed spending plan to contract for community liaisons. The party eventually repaid the government $70,000 for work done on behalf of the B.C. Liberals by Brian Bonney, a former government director of communications.

      Later, Baskerville became deputy minister of international trade.

      The former deputy minister for children and family development, Mark Sieben, also has a new job. He's now deputy minister for the Ministry of Public Safety and Solicitor General, which is headed by former Mountie Mike Morris.

      Sieben's replacement as deputy minister of children and family development is Lori Wannamaker, who used to be deputy solicitor general.