Premier Christy Clark was sworn in as B.C.’s new premier on Monday, and announced her new cabinet, but Kootenay MLA Bill Bennett is still waiting to know if he will be part of Clark’s Liberal caucus.
“I had a long meeting with Premier Clark last week and we’ve settled on a path way for me to go back. It’s going to take a week or two but I’m reasonably confident that I’ll be back and be a member of government again,” said Bennett.
Bennett has been an independent MLA since being removed from the Liberal caucus in November 2010.
“I hope there will be a role for me in cabinet, but I think it would be in the future after an election. Having a cabinet without somebody from the Kootenays there would be difficult, but the decision of the cabinet is always up to the Premier,” said Bennett.
Since Premier Clark was elected the new Liberal leader, Bennett has been supportive of the new party leader, and supports the changes made to cabinet.
“She moved a lot of people around, and brought some new people in,” he said. “She also cut down on the size of cabinet, which I think was a good idea. I think the people want a change, and I think that’s a good start for her.”
The smaller cabinet is a distinct shift from the Campbell government and Bennett said that the smaller cabinet will translate to a large caucus giving the caucus a more important role in her government.
“Most of the cabinet members are in new jobs, and that brings a certain excitement, and enthusiasm on the part of the minister when they are starting a new job, and that’s not a bad thing,” said Bennett.
One person who isn’t new to the job is George Abbott who has taken back the portfolio of the Ministry of Education.
“Abbott being included was probably my happiest part of her decision,” he said. “He really enjoyed education when he was education minister and he’s about the only minister who got the same portfolio back.
There’s a lot of work that needs to be done for K-12 reform. He’s a father and he was a teacher himself and he has the right attitude to deal with teachers and school boards and I’m pretty pleased about that and I think we all should be.”