Peter Fassbender has been moved from his position as education minister

Peter Fassbender has been moved from his position as education minister

Local MLA stands behind cabinet shuffle

Peter Fassbender has been replaced as education minister by backbencher Mike Bernier

Peter Fassbender is no longer B.C.’s education minister but Vernon-Monashee MLA Eric Foster insists that isn’t a sign of dissatisfaction.

Premier Christy Clark shuffled her cabinet Thursday, shifting Fassbender from education to community development, and naming backbench MLA Mike Bernier to the education portfolio.

When asked if Fassbender was moved because of recent conflicts with teachers, Foster stated, “absolutely not.”

“He’s a hero in our room for the way he handled the B.C. Teachers Federation and the work stoppage,” said Foster.

Beyond community development, Fassbender is now responsible for the Lower Mainland’s TransLink program. As a former Langley mayor, he was heavily involved in TransLink.

Bernier is a former Dawson Creek mayor and a first-term MLA for Peace River South.

“Mike is a good guy, hard working and a diplomat and he will be able to steer that for awhile,” said Foster of the challenging education ministry.

Lisa Laboucane, Vernon Teachers Association president, is not impressed with Bernier’s appointment.

“We always hope to see an education minister that has some knowledge or first-hand experience of our school system but once again, that hasn’t happened,” she said.

“We have to ask, why would Bernier, a LNG expert and advocate, be chosen as the education minister? It’s a confusing move from Christy Clark.”

The B.C. Teachers Federation says it will reach out to Bernier to establish a working relationship on key issues like the curriculum redesign for kindergarten to Grade 12.

“We look forward to meeting Minister Bernier and getting him up to speed on the significant challenges-like underfunding, class composition, and the lack of specialist teachers- that are impacting our schools and students,” said Jim Iker, BCTF president, in a release.

Coralee Oakes has gone from community development to small business and red tape reduction while Naomi Yamamoto is minister of state for emergency preparedness.

“The changes are about making sure British Columbians in every  region benefit from our plan to create jobs by growing our strong and  diverse economy,” said Clark.

The removal of TransLink from Transportation Minister Todd Stone’s portfolio comes in the wake of the defeat by Metro Vancouver voters of a plebiscite on the creation of a 0.5 per cent regional sales tax to fund transit expansion.

Fassbender, a Surrey MLA, has extensive history on the TransLink file. He once chaired the Metro mayors’ council as it tried to persuade the province to grant a new revenue source.

Stone as minister made statements supportive of the mayors’ plan and the new tax but did not actively campaign for it during the plebiscite required by Clark on any new tax.

Metro Vancouver board chair Greg Moore welcomed Fassbender’s new role.

“It think it’s a good move,” the Port Coquitlam mayor said. “He has a deep understanding of the legislation and not only the challenges but also the opportunities of being able to work together to find solutions for TransLink.”

Jordan Sturdy is now parliamentary secretary for energy literacy and the environment under Environment Minister Mary Polak – Bernier’s previous post. He’ll also chair the province’s Climate Leadership Panel.

“We have the opportunity now to build on a record of student achievement with long-term labour peace in place, to strengthen our support for small business, which is the backbone of our economy, to work together with communities to prepare for the future, and to put in place a plan to prevent and manage emergencies or natural disasters so that our province can recover with our future secured,” Clark said in a news release.

– with files from Black Press reporter Jeff Nagel

 

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

Just Posted

Dastkar, a new furniture store in Vernon, features handmade, unique furniture carved from wood and inlaid with brass in the Chiniot style. The business located on 43rd Avenue was started in December 2020 but is currently unstaffed due to COVID-19 staffing shortages. (Brendan Shykora - Morning Star)
PHOTOS: Vernon’s hidden handmade furniture store

Owners of Shahi Pakwan Indian restaurant opened the South Asian furniture store in December 2020

(Vernon Search and Rescue/Facebook)
Vernon Search and Rescue responds after family gets UTV stuck on SilverStar trails

The family activated their SOS beacon around 3 p.m. once they realized they could be facing a night alone in the mountains

The organizer of a Kelowna protest against COVID-19 restrictions was fined by the RCMP for the third time Saturday, Jan. 16, 2021. (File photo)
COVID-19: Organizer of Kelowna anti-restriction protest ticketed for third time

The individual’s latest ticket for $2,300 was handed out by RCMP at an anti-lockdown rally Saturday

Mount Boucherie Secondary School is one of three Kelowna schools with confirmed cases of COVID-19, according to an update from the school district Saturday, Jan. 16, 2021. (File photo)
COVID-19 confirmed at 3 Kelowna schools

Interior Health has confirmed exposures at Mount Boucherie, Springvalley and South Rutland schools

Justin Kripps of Summerland and his team have competed in Olympic action and World Cup competitions in bobsleigh. (Jason Ransom-Canadian Olympic Comittee).
QUIZ: Are you ready for some winter sports?

It’s cold outside, but there are plenty of recreation opportunities in the winter months

Keith the curious kitten is seen on Nov. 4, 2020 at the Chilliwack SPCA. Friday, Jan. 22, 2021 is Answer Your Cat’s Questions Day. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress file)
Unofficial holidays: Here’s what people are celebrating for the week of Jan. 17 to 23

Answer Your Cat’s Questions Day, Pie Day and International Sweatpants Day are all coming up this week

Alberta Energy Minister Sonya Savage addresses the attendees while Tom Olsen, Managing Director of the Canadian Energy Centre, looks on at a press conference at SAIT in Calgary on Wednesday, Dec. 11, 2019. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Greg Fulmes
‘Morally and ethically wrong:’ Court to hear challenge to Alberta coal policy removal

At least 9 interveners will seek to join a rancher’s request for a judicial review of Alberta’s decision

A health-care worker prepares a dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine at a UHN COVID-19 vaccine clinic in Toronto on Thursday, January 7, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
COVID-19: Provinces work on revised plans as Pfizer-BioNTech shipments to slow down

Anita Anand said she understands and shares Canadians’ concerns about the drug company’s decision

Tourists take photographs outside the British Columbia Legislature in Victoria, B.C., on Friday August 26, 2011. A coalition of British Columbia tourism industry groups is urging the provincial government to not pursue plans to ban domestic travel to fight the spread of COVID-19. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
B.C. travel ban will harm struggling tourism sector, says industry coalition

B.C. government would have to show evidence a travel ban is necessary

(Phil McLachlan - Capital News)
‘Targeted’ shooting in Coquitlam leaves woman in hospital

The woman suffered non-life threatening injuries in what police believe to be a targeted shooting Saturday morning

Half of the most expensive homes are on 2080 Mackenzie Crt, which is across the street from Revelstoke Mountain Resort. (Liam Harrap/Revelstoke Review)
The 10 most valuable homes in Revelstoke for 2020

Combined, the properties are worth more than $35M

Lake Country native Evan-Riley Brown is in the cast for the new film Journey To Royal: A WW II Rescue Mission to be released on video on demand and streaming services on Feb. 2. (Contributed)
Okanagan actor lands role in WW II movie

Evan-Riley Brown, from Lake Country, cast in production labelled as hybrid of a feature film and documentary called Journey To Royal: a WW II Rescue Mission.

JaHyung Lee, “Canada’s oldest senior” at 110 years old, received his first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine on Thursday, Jan. 14, 2021. He lives at Amenida Seniors Community in Newton. (Submitted photo: Amenida Seniors Community)
More than 20 days have passed since the last case of COVID-19 was confirmed at Lakeside Manor. (File photo)
Salmon Arm retirement facility reopens social areas after COVID-19

More than 20 days have passed since last confirmed case at Lakeside Manor

Most Read