Kootenay East MLA Bill Bennett was named the Minister of Community, Sport and Cultural Development Wednesday morning as Premier Christy Clark announced her new cabinet.
“I’m excited to be a Minister and I appreciate the opportunity that Premier Clark has given me here, but my first priority is and always has been, my constituency of Kootenay East, and that’s not going to change,” stated Bennett. “I enjoy working with local government, especially the rural communities. I have a personal relationship with the mayors in the Elk Valley. This is an opportunity to get to know more of the mayors in the province, and the councilors, and the regional district people.”
Bennett believes his new role will only help improve his current position as an MLA for the Kootenay East region. He explained, “You are at the cabinet table for every significant decision that government makes, so you have the opportunity to influence more in cabinet than as a private member. I’m there to make sure that the interests of the people of Kootenay East are represented and also that their perspective be included in the discussion.”
Bennett has previously served on the B.C. cabinet as the Minister of State for Mining, Minister of Tourism, Culture and the Arts, Minister of Community and Rural Development, and the Minister of Energy.
With a provincial election coming up this May, Bennett will be busy developing the Liberal Party’s platform and hitting the road for the campaign. “I’ll be travelling the province lots and talking to people, listening to people, and telling the story of our government, and hopefully persuading people that they need to take a good hard look at us in the next election.”
Bennett went on to say, “I’m going to approach the election the same way I have in the past. I’ll be running on my record and relying on the relationships that I have with the people who live here.”
Bennett is taking over the position from former Minister of Community, Sport and Cultural Development, Ida Chong, who has been named the new Minister of Aboriginal Relations and Reconciliation.