Former Education Minister Peter Fassbender is now Minister of Community

Premier names new education, community ministers

Mini cabinet shuffle gives TransLink oversight to Peter Fassbender, who exits turbulent education ministry after 2014 strike

BC Liberal backbencher Mike Bernier is B.C.’s new Education Minister, while predecessor Peter Fassbender takes over as Community, Sport, and Cultural Development Minister, with responsibility for TransLink as well.

The mini cabinet shuffle announced Thursday by Premier Christy Clark also shifts Coralee Oakes, who previously headed the ministry that deals with municipalities, to Minister of Small Business and Red-Tape Reduction, with responsibility for the Liquor Distribution Branch.

Fassbender headed the province’s negotiations with B.C. teachers during last year’s strike. He held out for a negotiated settlement the province achieved rather than legislating teachers back to work, as had been the pattern in several previous teacher strikes.

The removal of TransLink from Transportation Minister Todd Stone’s portfolio comes in the wake of the defeat by Metro Vancouver voters of a plebiscite on the creation of a 0.5 per cent regional sales tax to fund transit expansion.

Fassbender, a Surrey MLA, has extensive history on the TransLink file as a former Langley City Mayor who once chaired the Metro mayors’ council as it tried to persuade the province to grant a new revenue source.

Stone as minister made statements supportive of the mayors’ plan and the new tax but did not actively campaign for it during the plebiscite required by Clark on any new tax.

Fassbender, along with fellow Surrey MLA Marvin Hunt, was more blunt, at one point speaking out against No campaign critics of TransLink’s record.

“Is it totally mismanaged? I don’t believe that, I never have,” Fassbender told Black Press in March, pointing to audits in recent years. “The previous commissioner looked at it and said it was a well-run organization.”

Metro Vancouver board chair Greg Moore welcomed Fassbender’s new role.

“It think it’s a good move,” the Port Coquitlam mayor said. “He has a deep understanding of the legislation and not only the challenges but also the opportunities of being able to work together to find solutions for TransLink.”

Moore noted Fassbender, when he led the mayors’ council, was “very proud” of the agreement struck in 2010 with then-premier Gordon Campbell to negotiate a new funding source. Mayors saw Clark’s promise of a referendum as a betrayal of that deal.

NDP transportation critic Claire Trevena called the shift in TransLink responsibility a “slapdown” for Stone “because he hasn’t delivered.”

Bernier, a former Dawson Creek mayor with 20 years experience in the natural gas industry, is a first-term MLA for Peace River South.

Clark also shifted Naomi Yamamoto out of the small business ministry, making her Minister of State for Emergency Preparedness, underneath the transportation ministry.

Jordan Sturdy is now parliamentary secretary for energy literacy and the environment under Environment Minister Mary Polak – Bernier’s previous post. He’ll also chair the province’s Climate Leadership Panel.

“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,” Clark said in a news release.

Just Posted

West Coast fishers see empty seas, demand Pacific Salmon Treaty funding

“Right now, if this continues, I think most fishermen will be bankrupt in a couple of years.”

Ucluelet mayor says pipeline and spill response plan both needed

“We are a society that cannot exist without oil and gas and plastics at this point in time.”

Tofino and Ucluelet host youth soccer tournament

Teams from Port Alberni and Nanaimo travel in for one-day sporting event.

Tofino salmon farmer receives permit to use hydrogen peroxide on sea lice

“Peaceful, direct, action to stop this kind of thing is always a tactic that we could employ.”

VIDEO: Work is play for this B.C. avalanche rescue dog

CARDA certified Joss’s Job is to save lives — but to her, it’s all a game

How to keep local news visible in your Facebook feed

Facebook has changed the news feed to emphasize personal connections. You might see less news.

Black Press Media acquires two new Alaska newspapers

New Media Investment Group to acquire the Akron (OH) Beacon Journal while Black Press Media takes on daily newspapers in Juneau and Kenai Alaska

Thieves target B.C. firefighters helping flood victims

The service has been helping with sandbagging efforts, as rural Oliver battles flooding

Housing crisis amplified on Denman Island

High rental prices, density caps, and a shortage of housing stock have led to island-wide struggles

B.C. towns rank in top honeymoon destination worldwide

Vernon, Kaslo, Sunshine Coast and the Island hit Expedia.ca’s list of top 18 honeymoon destinations

Men arrested at Starbucks say they feared for their lives

Rashon Nelson and Donte Robinson were arrested in a Philadelphia Starbucks, becoming viral video

Olympic gold now official for B.C. weightlifter

Christine Girard’s bronze medal from 2012 Olympics upgraded to gold, IOC announces

Did a Canadian shoot down the Red Baron? A century later, debate hasn’t quit

Om April 21, 1918 two Canadians in their canvas-covered Sopwith Camel biplanes engaged the enemy

Most Read