The BC Liberal party have sworn in its MLAs following the 2020 B.C. Election, including Columbia River-Revelstoke and Kootenay East incumbents Doug Clovechok and Tom Shypitka.
In a virtual event, all 28 MLAs with the BC Liberals were sworn into office ahead of the first sitting on the legislature since the election on December 7th.
Shypitka said the smaller caucus the Liberals now have means the whole party will be busy.
“There are, I believe, 24 ministries, and there are essentially 24 MLAs who will be taking on the role of critics. Every MLA will have their own file, so that will be a lot of work, especially for some of the new MLAs,” said Shypitka. “I’m not sure what portfolio I will get, but I certainly will be getting something. I’d like to continue as energy and mines critic, but I’m up for the challenge of any ministry I’ve been given”
Clovechok said he hopes to keep his position as the shadow cabinet’s critic of tourism.
“Shirley Bond is going through all the positions with the Horgan cabinet being named, she’s going through all of our MLAs and looking at the skillsets she needs,” explained Clovechok. “She knows what I would like to do, but she has to make the decision as the leader as to where our skillsets are best served, and I’ll go wherever she needs me to go.”
Now officially back in office, both MLAs will spend time catching up on work that was put on hold amid the snap election.
Shypitka said that he will spend the coming weeks reconnecting with constituents, industry, and businesses in his riding, with an emphasis on economic recovery.
“When we talk about our economic health, and when we see some of these folks losing their businesses, there some a lot of challenges with that as well,” explained Shypitka. “Mental health, addiction, suicide, a lot of serious issues can all come along with a lack of focus on our economic health. I’ve made meetings to reach out to the local business community, chamber of commerce, those kinds of folks, to see if there’s something we can bring to the government to bring back that balance between economic health and personal health.”
Meanwhile, Clovechok plans to focus on the backlog of files as quickly as possible.
“We still had many files that were ongoing, from wildlife to transportation to health care. Those issues weren’t on the back burner, I had my constituency office open during the entire election, and they were doing the best they could. We’re going to wade right back into the constituency work and we’ve already started to do that on multiple different files,” said Clovechok.
The ceremony was held online, with MLAs participating remotely, instead of from within the legislature building.
Clovechok said this year’s virtual ceremony was very different from the last time he was sworn in, as he attended the ceremony from the comfort of home.
“You got to walk down the red carpet and the Premiere was there waiting for you and you got to sign all of the documents. You got to experience all of the pomp and pageantry that goes along with being in the legislature, but with COVID-19, it wasn’t possible this time,” said Clovechok. “I feel kind of bad for the new MLAs because they didn’t get to experience that part of it, because it’s truly an honour to represent people in that chamber.”
Shypitka mirrored his colleague’s sentiments toward the ceremony’s new format.
“The first time I was sworn into the legislature, you get to go into the chamber and see the red carpet and see all the history on the walls, it’s a big, magnificent building,” said Shypitka. “It’s quite a contrast this time, I’m sitting in my kitchen, there’s a frying pan on the stove. It’s quite the contrast from four years ago, but still the same thrill.”
Shadow cabinet positions for Clovechok, Shypitka and the other BC Liberal MLAs over the weekend.
More: Shirley Bond named Interim Leader of BC Liberals (Nov 24, 2020)