The BC Liberal party has announced its shadow cabinet positions, with some changes made to the role of Kootenay East MLA Tom Shypitka.
Shypitka is in a similar role as before, moving from the Opposition Critic of Energy, Mines and Petroleum Resources, to Critic of Energy, Mines and Low Carbon Innovation.
“Now that we’re down to 28 MLAs, everyone is taking the full load. I’ve been given one of the biggest files in government with Energy, Mines and Low Carbon Innovation,” said Shypitka. “I’m getting the whole gamut here, everything from oil and gas to mining to renewable energy, it’s in my file.”
The file given to Shypitka covers a wide range of subjects, including oil and gas, mining, and renewable energy.
Shypitka said the Low Carbon Innovation role fell under the umbrella of the Ministry of Environment before it was moved over to him.
He added that he is pleased with the changes made to his position in the shadow cabinet.
“I’m humbled and honored to take on this file, because it is such a major file and our leadership has put their trust in me to handle this,” said Shypitka. “They’ve seen the work I’ve done in the past and they’re happy with it, obviously, and I couldn’t be happier.”
Streamlining the permitting is among the first issues that Shypitka wants to take care of.
“We’ve seen notice of work applications and other kinds of permitting go anywhere from 100 days to 280, to 300 days. Some operators are losing a whole season of operations due to this slow permitting time,” explained Shypitka. “We have other issues such as getting the Trans Mountain online, getting our liquified natural gas online., making sure that Site C is built on time and make sure it’s done safely because we need to electrify our industry, we need to lower our carbon emissions, and Site C will be a project that will help us do that.”
Site C is a hydroelectric dam which is under construction by BC Hydro along the Peace River near Fort St. John.
Shypitka and the rest of B.C.’s MLAs will sit in the Legislature for the first time since the election on Monday, December 7th.