On Friday, the new provincial cabinet will be unveiled. And it is almost certain that Langley will have the greatest representation it’s had in any B.C. cabinet.
Deputy premier Rich Coleman, who has been part of the cabinet continuously since 2001, is certain to stay, and will likely hold onto the deputy premier role, as well as a senior portfolio — likely related to the LNG plants that were such a key part of the Liberal election campaign.
Mary Polak, who was first elected in 2005, has held a number of important jobs, most recently minister of transportation. She will almost certainly be in the new cabinet, perhaps in a new role. She could be the next minister of education — she is a former school trustee and has a strong work ethic, which will certainly be needed in dealing with the B.C. Teachers Federation.
Langley only has two seats in the legislature, but it is very likely it will have at least three cabinet representatives. The reason — Langley City Mayor Peter Fassbender ran in Surrey-Fleetwood and won the seat, which had been held by the NDP. With his high profile on regional issues like transit and the RCMP contract, and his commitment to run for the Liberals when few gave the party a chance to win, he is likely to be rewarded by Premier Christy Clark.
She appreciates his loyalty, but she also knows he is a hard worker who will tackle any assignment he is given with gusto.
In B.C. history, few Langley MLAs have been in cabinet. One of the first was Bob McClelland, who was minister of health in the Bill Bennett Social Credit government. Carol Gran was in the cabinet in the Bill Vander Zalm era.
And for a short while in the early days of the BC Liberal reign, there were three MLAs with Langley ties in cabinet — Coleman, Lynn Stephens and former Fort Langley-Aldergrove MLA Gary Farrell-Collins, who switched to a Vancouver riding in 1996.
The current power trio bring ability. experience and hard work to Victoria, and should all three be named to cabinet, Langley will greatly benefit.
Langley’s needs will not be forgotten either. Both Polak and Fassbender are determined to improve transit and transportation options for people in this area, and Coleman will be doing his level best to encourage resource development, improve the B.C. economy and boost employment.