Burnaby MLAs get new shadow cabinet posts

Burnaby-Deer Lake NDP MLA Kathy Corrigan -
Burnaby-Deer Lake NDP MLA Kathy Corrigan
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Two Burnaby New Democrat MLAs have new shadow cabinet posts as part of a shuffle announced Wednesday.

Kathy Corrigan (Burnaby-Deer Lake) is now the critic for advanced education, as well as the NDP's caucus vice-chair.

For the past four years she had been the party's justice critic focused on public safety and the solicitor general's ministry. That portfolio has been turned over to Mike Farnworth (Port Coquitlam).

"This is a new challenge that I'm very excited about," Corrigan said, noting she's "very passionate about public education."

She said ongoing issues she expects to tackle include funding cuts and freezes to public post-secondary institutions, the increasing student debt and the province's decision to redistribute funding towards skills training at the expense of other programs.

"I know that the university and college presidents are saying it is just as important to have people trained in the variety of disciplines that the universities and colleges provide … as it is trades training. And that's certainly clear."

The NDP Opposition will also continue to call for the resignation of Advanced Education Minister Amrik Virk after it was learned he was on the board of Kwantlen Polytechnic University when the province's caps on executive compensation were violated.

"So the rules were broken when he was on the board," she said. "We think it's inappropriate for him to be the minister of advanced education."

Burnaby-Lougheed MLA Jane Shin also saw changes in her portfolio, deputy critic for trade, immigration and multiculturalism. She will continue to work with Bruce Ralston, the party's main critic in those areas who she called "a great mentor."

The rookie MLA was appointed to the post in January by former leader Adrian Dix, but current leader John Horgan has broadened the scope to look at more than just international trade as it was originally.

Shin said by phone from Prince Rupert that she is particularly interested in growing B.C.'s "creative economy" such as the film, TV, video gaming and technology sectors.

"It's the way of the future," she said, noting they involve well-paying, green jobs. "The resource sector is going to dry up at some point."

Shin will also continue with her outreach efforts, especially focused on engaging immigrant communities and getting them interested and involved in the political process and how government works. She will also serve as vice-chair, along with Harry Bains (Surrey Newton), of the party's internal community engagement committee.

Burnaby-Edmonds NDP MLA Raj Chouhan will continue in his role as assistant deputy speaker, one of three MLAs to sit in the speaker's chair in the legislature.

“Community and business leaders are telling me they feel ignored by a B.C. Liberal government that is solely fixated on LNG—and the government is even failing to get real results on that,” said BC NDP leader John Horgan in a press release. “The B.C. Liberals don’t care enough about the priorities of most British Columbians and aren’t delivering for them."

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