New premier to be sworn in March 14

Premier-designate Christy Clark takes questions at the B.C. legislature Monday.

Premier-designate Christy Clark takes questions at the B.C. legislature Monday.

VICTORIA – Christy Clark confirmed Monday she will be sworn in March 14 as B.C.’s 35th premier, and promised to unveil a smaller cabinet than the last one appointed by Premier Gordon Campbell.

Meeting with reporters at the legislature for the first time since her selection as B.C. Liberal leader Feb. 26, Clark declined to say how much smaller she would make the government’s executive council. It currently stands at an all-time high of 20 full-scale ministries as well as ministers of state and parliamentary secretaries.

Clark didn’t rule out calling an early election some time in 2011, saying only that it would be after a province-wide referendum on whether to scrap the harmonized sales tax. Clark has indicated she wants that referendum held June 24.

She renewed her campaign pledge to restore $15 million in gambling grants cut from charities last year, and to launch a review of the B.C. government’s relationship with charities.

Faced with a recession and budget deficits, former housing and social development minister Rich Coleman restricted arts and sports grants to those that benefit young people and the disabled. B.C. government revenues from lotteries and casinos have grown to $1 billion a year, with a large new destination casino being considered for downtown Vancouver.

“My position on it has always been that if we’re going to expand gambling in British Columbia, we need to make sure that there is money going back to communities and charities,” Clark said. “I think that was the crucial tradeoff that citizens bought into, and so we need to make sure that if we’re expanding gambling, that we keep that deal with the citizens of the province.”

A commission will be appointed to examine the government’s relationship with charities, and to recommend ways that they can be assured of stable funding.

Clark said her first priority is to make sure the government considers families in all of its decisions. Asked how that fits in with increasing medical services plan premiums and BC Hydro rates that are expected to rise 50 per cent in the next few years, she said government has to look beyond tax rates to the full costs imposed on families by the province.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

A woman wearing a face mask to curb the spread of COVID-19 uses walking sticks while walking up a hill, in New Westminster, B.C., on Sunday, November 29, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Interior Health reports 83 more COVID-19 infections overnight

46 cases are now associated with a COVID-19 community cluster in Revelstoke

Members of the Swansea Point Fire Department will be out with their trucks collecting food items on December 13. (CSRD photo)
Rural Shuswap fire departments gearing up for food banks

Food drives are planned in Silver Creek, White Lake and other communities

grapes.
Morning Start: Grapes light on fire in the microwave

Your morning start for Tuesday, Dec. 1, 2020

A man wearing a face mask to prevent the spread of COVID-19 walks past a mural in Vancouver on Monday, Nov. 30, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Marissa Tiel
212 new COVID-19 cases in Interior Health over the weekend

A total of 490 cases remain active; 15 in hospital

Okanagan College students Michael Ochoa and Tallin Gregoire, both members of the Okanagan Indian Band, raised the Okanagan Nation Alliance flag on July 16, 2019,  outside the Vernon campus. (Karissa Gall photo)
First Nations reconciliation personified at Okanagan College

President Jim Hamilton’s foresight has opened post-secondary education doors for Okanagan College’s Indigenous students

A tongue-in-cheek message about wearing a face mask to curb the spread of COVID-19 on a sign outside a church near Royal Columbia Hospital, in New Westminster, B.C., on Sunday, Nov. 29, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
B.C.’s COVID-19 infection count climbs back up to 656

20 more people in hospital, active cases still rising

Brent Ross poses with his dog Jack who died over the weekend after asphyxiating on a ball. Ross hopes his experience serves as a cautionary tale to other dog owners. (Contributed)
Salmon Arm man warns others after dog dies from choking on a ball

Brent Ross grieving the sudden loss of Jack, a healthy, seven-year-old chocolate lab

This year’s Candlelight Vigil, United Against Violence Against Women, on Dec. 6, 2020 will not be in person at the campuses of Okanagan College due to COVID-19, but people will be able to gather online to watch a video presentation and light a candle in remembrance. (Image contributed)
Violence against women in North Okanagan-Shuswap to be remembered online

Participants in virtual vigil Dec. 6 asked to light a candle and post photo on social media

Mayor Colin Basran at the announcement of the 2021 Tim Horton’s Brier to be hosted in Kelowna on Nov. 21. (Contributed)
Tim Hortons Brier not coming to Kelowna

The COVID-19 pandemic has prompted Curling Canada to move to hub model, similar to the NHL playoffs

An Enderby restaurant and pub has been shut down since Sunday afternoon, Nov. 29, 2020 as a precaution after a guest reportedly tested positive for COVID-19. (Howard Johnson photo)
Enderby pub shuts down after guest reportedly tests positive for COVID-19

The Howard Johnson hotel, restaurant and pub has been closed since Sunday afternoon, Nov. 29

Robert Gibson, born November 24, 2020 is in BC Children’s Hospital. Photo contributed
Princeton baby fights for his life, with parents at his side

A Go Fund Me campaign has been started to help family with expenses

Grapevine Optical was the victim of an early morning break and enter Wednesday, Nov. 26, 2020. (Crime Stoppers Okanagan / Facebook)
Collection of designer sunglasses stolen from South Okanagan eye-wear shop

Crime Stoppers is seeking the identity of two male suspects

Most Read