Shuswap MLA George Abbott is sworn in as minister of education by Lt.-Gov. Stephen L. Point during a ceremony in Victoria Monday.

Shuswap MLA George Abbott is sworn in as minister of education by Lt.-Gov. Stephen L. Point during a ceremony in Victoria Monday.

MLA gets education post

George Abbott got the job he wanted.

The Shuswap MLA was named education minister by Premier Christy Clark Monday.

“I’m excited to re-engage with the education ministry and stakeholders,” said Abbott.

“I was hoping to be returned to the ministry.”

Abbott was appointed education minister by then-premier Gordon Campbell in October, but soon left the post so he could seek the Liberal leadership.

On Tuesday, Abbott was meeting with senior ministry staff and becoming reacquainted with issues facing the portfolio.

He anticipates some changes will occur in classrooms.

“There’s a lot of interesting initiatives that could be taken to reform the system,” he said.

“There’s an opportunity to sit down with the partners, such as the B.C. Teachers Federation, and work with them to see how they believe we can improve the education system.”

Abbott’s role as education minister has been endorsed by Eric Foster, Vernon-Monashee MLA.

“He’s level headed and he approaches everything with a calm demeanor. Education needs that right now,” said Foster.

Clark, who was sworn in as B.C.’s 35th premier Monday, has announced a cabinet of 17 ministers.

“When cabinets are adjusted, that provides new energy,” said Abbott, adding that he believes the new cabinet will provide solid leadership for the province.

Kevin Falcon will serve as finance minister and deputy premier, while Barry Penner is attorney general, Steve Thomson is forests minister, health minister is Mike de Jong and Harry Bloy has the transportation portfolio.

“There is a lot of good experience among cabinet,” said Foster.

“There is a good mix of new people and experienced people in new jobs.”

Missing from cabinet is Colin Hansen, who was finance minister and deputy premier.

Foster would not speculate on Hansen’s departure or if he was removed from cabinet because of his strong support for the harmonized sales tax.

“I don’t know if that’s the case. The premier made decisions based on a lot of things,” he said.

“I had coffee with Colin and he’s not upset with it.”

Foster remains the government’s deputy whip in the Legislature and he has also been  appointed by Clark to the environment and land use committee.