Comox Valley MLA Don McRae was named education minister in Wednesday’s cabinet shuffle by Premier Christy Clark.
He inherits a $5.3-billion portfolio — substantially higher than the $60-million budget for which he was responsible as agriculture minister.
“I think my colleague George Abbott who was (education) minister before I did a lot of the heavy lifting,” McRae said. “I don’t see labour issues as being front and centre in the coming year.
“I’m looking forward to seeing how we can work with the stakeholders to see how we can allow the system to evolve and reflect the needs of a modern society. And also bring a teacher lens to it. I’ve spent 15 years teaching high school. Thoroughly enjoyed my time.”
McRae is also a first-time member of the priorities and planning committee that includes Clark, Deputy Premier Rich Coleman and Finance Minister Mike de Jong.
G.P. Vanier graduate Colin Hansen, who served as finance minister under Gordon Campbell, is also on the P&P committee.
“We’re very lucky to have people like Colin. He’s very wise, he’s been around a long time,” McRae said. “Again, nice to have another Comox Valley connection there,” added McRae, who is also on the Cabinet Working Group on Family Affordability and Cabinet Committee on Families First.
“Which I really enjoy because I always bring a lens to caucus or to a committee. My wife and I, we’re a working family, we’re budgeting time and money, and trying to raise two young girls the best we can.”
As far as he knows, McRae is the only remaining cabinet minister tending to diapers on a regular basis.
“Now I am the sole member of the ‘diaper caucus,’ ” he quipped.
The new cabinet has 16 ministers and two ministers of state, plus the premier. No new ministries were added.
Surrey-Cloverdale MLA Kevin Falcon resigned as finance minister last week. He was joined by Abbott, Children and Family Development Minister Mary McNeil and Chilliwack MLA John Les in announcing they won’t seek re-election.
With a file from Black Press.
See Friday’s Comox Valley Record for more.