Mar 15, 2011

Reading the tea leaves in a Cabinet shuffle


Figuring out what the changes in a Cabinet shuffle mean is a lot like reading tea leaves: you can find just about anything you can imagine. Christy Clark’s first Cabinet announced yesterday is no exception.

That being said, there are some things that stand out as pretty strong likelihoods.

First of all it looks like the government’s fixation on privatizing government infrastructure and services will continue and may get even stronger.

Kevin Falcon’s appointment as Finance Minister may have been a genuflection to the party’s right wing but it also puts him in a position to drive the privatization agenda.  In his previous ministries of health and transportation we saw unprecedented development of public private partnership (P3) hospitals, roads and bridges.  Now as Finance Minister the government’s privatization agency, Partnerships BC, reports to him. Under Gordon Campbell Partnerships BC was given a free hand to push for P3s and under Falcon the organization might have even more sway.

Falcon is joined at the Finance Ministry by Deputy Minister Peter Milburn.  Milburn was moved from Transportation where he helped put together the Gateway project.  Grant Main, who recently served as a vice-president at Partnerships BC, takes up the new Deputy Minister role with the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure.

All told it is a powerful political and bureaucratic coalition to aggressively pursue privatization.

Any other thoughts?  I’d love to hear what other people are reading from the tea leaves.