VANCOUVER (NEWS 1130) – Now that we know John Horgan will be officially sworn in at Government House at 2pm on July 18th, former New Democrat Premier Mike Harcourt is expecting his cabinet to be a mix of seasoned and rookie MLA’s with an equal split of men and women.
Horgan worked for Harcourt back in 1991 when he became the province’s first NDP Premier after 16 years of Social Credit rule.
Harcourt has this advice for ensuring the party stays in power longer than a few months.
“Well, have all your people in the House when a vote’s going to be there. The Speaker, of course, is going to have to probably be a New Democrat because the Liberals are refusing to put somebody forward and the Speaker will have to vote and I would guess vote in favour of the Throne Speech and the budget passing.”
Harcourt, who’s one of Horgan’s un-official advisors, says he’s expecting Carole James to be Deputy Premier and Finance Minister.
“And I would think Mike Farnworth would be in there and a few of the other old tried and true veterans, and then, there’s some really good talent in some of the rookie MLA’s and you know, good luck in making the choices … Wouldn’t want to guess who John’s going to pick. Probably a combination of regional representation from Vancouver Island and the Lower Mainland and three people the rest of the province and gender-balanced.”
However, Harcourt admits he’s not sure the NDP’s Opposition Critic for Health, Judy Darcy, is a shoe-in for that portfolio over former long-time health critic Adrian Dix.
“She certainly would be competent to do it, knows the area and has been the health critic in the past, so I think that’s a possibility.”
When Harcourt was elected Premier in 1991, it was also after the previous Social Credit government was in power for 16 years. Horgan worked for him and remains a friend.
Earlier this week, we learned his former Chief of Staff Bob Dewar is staying on as a Special Advisor to the Premier and former BCIT President Don Wright will serve as Deputy Minister of Executive Council, Cabinet Secretary and Head of the Public Service.
He’s leaving his current job as the CEO of Central 1 Credit Union on July 7th.
Horgan also announced his new chief of staff is long-time NDP insider Geoff Meggs. His immediate resignation from Vancouver city council means a by-election must be held to replace him by the end of the year.
Horgan’s July 18th swearing-in ceremony will be almost three weeks after a confidence vote defeated the Liberals who’ve been in power for 16 years. The BC Liberals only won 43 seats in May’s election.
Now, an alliance consisting of 41 New Democrats and three Green MLA’s has a slim 44-seat majority in the 87-seat legislature.
A new Speaker likely won’t be named before the legislature resumes and Horgan’s already said his Throne Speech won’t be tabled before Labour Day.