North Vancouver-Lonsdale NDP MLA Bowinn Ma has been named the province's new minister for emergency management and climate readiness.
Premier David Eby appointed the two-term MLA to the role at a swearing-in ceremony for his new government in Victoria on Wednesday.
It is the first time the province has had a full-time minister and ministry dedicated to preparing for and dealing with disasters stemming from climate change.
“The reality is that the climate crisis has arrived and it is here in British Columbia,” Ma said, noting the tremendous damage dealt through the 2021 atmospheric rivers and flooding in the Fraser Valley, heat dome, drought and wildfires. “Those are not one-off events. They will continue to take place. They will continue to hit British Columbia even as we do work to take on climate change and make progress on climate action. We’ve got to be ready.”
It could be a tough portfolio, given that she’ll be front and centre in the public eye when emergency situations are unfolding, Ma acknowledged, but she said she told Eby she wanted to be given the opportunity to “work hard at work worth doing,” – a quote from Theodore Roosevelt.
“If I’m doing my job well, you won’t hear about me,” she said.
Now an NDP government veteran, it’s the highest post Ma has had within cabinet. Previously, she served as a minister of state for infrastructure.
North Vancouver-Seymour NDP MLA Susie Chant has also now been given her first assignment beyond the backbenches. Eby named Chant parliamentary secretary for accessibility in the province.
The two North Shore BC Liberal MLAs, meanwhile, have been named to Opposition leader Kevin Falcon’s shadow cabinet.
West Vancouver-Capilano MLA Karin Kirkpatrick will serve as the official critic for housing, while West Vancouver-Sea to Sky MLA Jordan Sturdy has been given the role of shadow minister for BC Ferries, fisheries and aquaculture.
“Housing affordability continues to worsen under the NDP. The new premier and his government have yet to deliver on what they promised more than five years ago while rents and home prices continue to skyrocket,” Kirkpatrick said in a release. “I will be working to ensure this government takes meaningful action to address issues of homelessness and deliver the affordable housing British Columbians desperately need.”