McIntyre shut out of cabinet 

MLA will focus energies on riding, 2010 Games


West Vancouver-Sea to Sky MLA Joan McIntyre has been shut out of B.C.'s cabinet just under a year after making the cut.

McIntyre, a second-term MLA who won 54 per cent of the vote in the May 12 election, went into the polls as Minister of State for Intergovernmental Relations but lost her post after Premier Gordon Campbell announced his new cabinet June 10.

"I think it had everything to do with very difficult decisions the Premier had to make," she said in an interview. "I think it's pretty obvious that, you know, we have a huge new team... 40 per cent of our caucus are actually new, are rookies, and I think he obviously felt the need to reflect a lot of the new people in the cabinet."

As a Minister of State, McIntyre was in charge of overseeing relations with both the federal and provincial governments. In the role she sought common ground with other governments to advance common causes and agendas, tackling issues such as the U.S.-Canada border as well as federal funding, a relationship that's worth billions of dollars.

Now, however, McIntyre is turning her energy almost exclusively to her constituents.

"My number one priority all along was working in the corridor," she said. "Now that we're so close to 2010 it's going to an unbelievably exciting time. I think for sure for myself it's going to be in the corridor and making sure we have the best ever Olympics.

"I am actually quite excited to be able to focus solely on my MLA duties."

Other tasks she'll be taking on include her position on the government's Agenda and Priorities Committee, which is chaired by the Premier and includes high-profile ministers such as George Abbott, Mike de Jong and Kevin Falcon. McIntyre claims to be the "only private member" on that committee.

Asked whether the coming Olympic and Paralympic Games would impact her ability to serve as both a minister and MLA concurrently, McIntyre said she told the Premier from the start of her time in the legislature that she didn't want to have a large amount of committee work and other tasks that could divert her in Victoria.

"I thought there was so much going on in the corridor," she said. "The communities have got six mayors and councils... these are ten communities (with) all the First Nations. We've actually got huge cultural components as well as sporting components to consider coming up.

"I think my re-election campaign reaffirmed that, I upped my popular vote in a more difficult riding with the riding distribution, and I think that the work that I've been doing and the relationship building and all that, has actually been the most satisfying part of my job."

Calls for comment to the Premier's press secretary were not returned by the end of the day on June 11.

In the midst of an economic crisis Campbell has grown his cabinet from 22 ministers to 24, adding a Minister of State for the 2010 Olympics and a Ministry of Labour.

Former Health Minister George Abbott takes over as Minister of Aboriginal Relations and Reconciliation from Mike de Jong, who takes over as Attorney-General and Government House Leader from Justice Wally Oppal, who was not re-elected.

Former Transportation Minister Kevin Falcon has moved to Health Services, a department that will take up 90 per cent of public spending over the newest government's term.

Bill Bennett, a controversial MLA who was once dumped from cabinet over an inflammatory e-mail to a constituent, has been appointed Minister of Community and Rural Development.

Bennett will be the go-to minister for the Village of Pemberton's boundary expansion proposal, which has been stalled until issues relating to the Squamish-Lillooet Regional District's Regional Growth Strategy can be worked out with the District of Squamish. The strategy, too, is likely to occupy Bennett's attention.


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