|Premier-Designate Christy Clark with Speaker-Designate or Minister of Whatever-Designate Harry Bloy, her only BC Liberal MLA supporter in the leadership contest, interviewed by Global TV's Ted Field|
By next week everyone will know who is in and out of Premier-designate Christy Clark's new cabinet - but there's no fun in waiting when we can bet on the ponies now!
And like going to Hastings Race Course on a sunny afternoon, their are favourites, possibles, dark horses and long shots that pay off with big odds if you win..
Here's a first look at the field - place your bets! And watch for more entries in the next little while, since the last race - the Gordon Campbell cabinet - is long over and those nags are headed for the paddocks.
And Christy Clark is already saying expect a smaller cabinet with new faces - watch out veteran racehorses! Long-time cabinet handicapper Vaughn Palmer does the math today at his Vancouver Sun blog and sees dead people - Campbell had 23 ministers and Clark will have less - incoming casualties expected.
"I think there's a lot of talent in the backbench and when I say we're going to change government we're going to certainly make sure that we draw on some of the folks perhaps that haven't been as busy in the past as they could be," Clark told media in Victoria Monday.
Clark also announced that her leadership Campaign Manager Mike McDonald will be her new Chief of Staff. McDonald - husband to Gordon Campbell's ex-Deputy Minister Jessica McDonald - is a former Caucus Communciations Director. And Mike McDonald's name came up numerous times in the BC Legislature Raid/Basi-Virk pre-trial hearings.
Kevin Falcon - No 2 in the leadership vote, No. 2 in Christy's government - can't say no to a Tory!
George Abbott - He laid heavy lumber on Christy during the campaign but leaving him out would start a revolt of the caucus outsiders who backed him - George is back in the cabinet winners' circle.
Mike de Jong - there was no open deal with Open Mike - but he didn't endorse Falcon or Abbott and he might have suggested some of his folks vote for Christy in the #2 slot behind closed doors, so he's in.
Rich Coleman - backed Falcon but Coleman is a) totally tight with Patrick Kinsella, who supported Christy with money and strategy and b) is pretty much indispensable as the most dependable cabinet minister and c) would be a very nasty customer if outside the tent.
Likely to place:
Colin Hansen - Had to desperately Twitter that he wasn't stepping down to help out Christy with his very safe Vancouver-Quilchena seat - an ignominious necessity for the BC finance minister & health minister. A fellow federal Liberal, Christy likely needs him to balance the red meat members of the cabinet.
NEW: Could Hansen be a late scratch? If he isn't in cabinet, would he give up his safe seat to Clark?
Pat Bell - Didn't support Christy but then again, no one else did either! Needs some northern members and he is one of the better ministers.
Shirley Bond - See above.
Barry Penner - Being one of the only lawyers in the caucus helps - de Jong or - yikes - Bill Bennett if he returns, being the others and somebody has to be Attorney General.
Harry Bloy - The only MLA to back Christy has to get a serious reward - will it be a decent cabinet job or will it be a rumoured turn as BC Speaker? Bloy likes to wear uniforms - see his annual Boy Scout appearance - so the robes and mace may appeal!
NEW: Blair Lekstrom - Could Clark offend all the other caucus members who didn't quit caucus over the HST by promoting him back to cabinet? Sure - at least Lekstrom didn't endorse her opponents! But it would be aggravating to those who value loyalty to party over loyalty to constituents.
Terry Lake - The so-far accident prone backbencher from Kamloops and chair of the HST Initiative committee might make the cut, especially if Christy fires the sorry carcass of Kevin Krueger out of cabinet.
NEW: John van Dongen - The lead-footed ex-solicitor general proved he can drive faster than a NASCAR pace setter but his good relations with the Ottawa Conservatives just might let him squeak back into cabinet.
Mary Polak - The former book-banning chair of the Surrey School Board and one of the caucus's most right-wing members might be one of the expendables from the Campbell cabinet - but she could hang on to placate the federal Conservative faction. Polak hasn't exactly impressed in her Misery of Children and Family's portfolio.
Ida Chong - She survived Fight HST's most serious recall campaign, so it would be hard to turf her - but despite Christy being the first to visit and support her counter-insurgency, Chong didn't return the favour of endorsing Clark. Might be on the bubble and with her $6,000 a year taxpayer-paid meal allowances, Chong is not exactly a vote-getter.
Moira Stilwell - Briefly the wannabe leadership contender no one knew, a medical doctor and researcher who seems oddly out of place in politics - and may be out of cabinet. Endorsed George Abbott in the endgame - showing none of the political skills needed by Clark.
Pamela Martin - The ex-CTV news reader turned Christy Clark membership drive chair lacks a seat in the Legislature - but so what? There's no rule against it and former NDP Premier Ujjal Dosanjh did it with Chief Ed John in the early 2000s. Martin would presumably commit to run in the next provincial election and would only get the cabinet pay stipend, not the MLA pay - but it's doubtful she needs the money anyway.
Get ready for the new government propaganda arm - PAB - to be renamed the Pamela Affairs Bureau!
Margaret MacDiarmid - Campbell's Education Minister not only didn't endorse Christy but she is in her way - in the Vancouver-Fairview riding that Clark's home is located in. Ouch. MacDiarmid might be tempted by the offer of a government patronage job to leave elected office.
NEW: Bill Barisoff - The current Speaker loves pomp and ceremony - and is pompous and ceremonious himself but without redeeming political skills. Clark is unlikely to waste a spot on this guy and Bloy wants his job.
Murray Coell, Stephanie Cadieaux, Mary McNeil - Current cabinet ministers - yes, I know, news to me too - and less than stellar performers.
Ralph Sultan - The smartest member of the caucus - and most ignored by Gordon Campbell - might just get a chance but don't count on it.
NEW: Bill Bennett - Within spitting distance of cabinet once again? First he has to get back into the BC Liberal caucus - being a lickspittle will help there. But cabinet? Not likely at this point - he's too toxic for admitting to the media that Gordon Campbell is "not a nice man" - shocking news.
Iain Black, John Yap, Randy Hawes, Naomi Yamamoto, Ben Stewart, Steve Thomson - who? Exactly. Current cabinet ministers who didn't back Clark - don't expect a call, buy lottery tickets.
Gwyn Morgan - Christy's fundamentalist right-winger transition team advisor. Makes Stephen Harper look like a French Socialist Party leader, Fraser Institute director, would instantly be most controversial minister since Flying Phil Gaglardi - let's do it! The Saanich resident would need to run for a seat - unless he organizes a Clark coup d'etat.
Ed Mayne - Even less known than Moira Stilwell or the immediately above but Mayne is an accomplished business owner on Vancouver Island and former Parksville mayor - I think - but who cares? He didn't support Clark either but it didn't matter. Another non-MLA.
NEW: Kash Heed - he's rested, he's ready - now all he needs is to be cleared by Elections BC! The "stallion" is set to ride again - if a BC Supreme Court judge decides he doesn't lose his Vancouver-Fraserview seat over failing to file appropriate financial statements. Get really long odds before betting on this flash in the pan.
Gordon Campbell - Hey - he's experienced, didn't support a competitor and is more competent than most of his cabinet - give the guy a chance!
Watch this spot for updated odds and more predictions in the next little while!