EDITORIAL: Puzzling cabinet snub

Gordon Hogg left out in the cold in Clark’s latest cabinet shuffle

How loyal does one have to be to receive a cabinet post in the B.C. Liberal government? More loyal, apparently, than long-serving Surrey-White Rock MLA Gordon Hogg.

Hogg has steadfastly stood to his post on a B.C. Liberal ship that has been taking on water since it hit the rocks over the introduction of the HST. More than that, he has publicly stated he will run for the B.C. Liberals in 2013.

But though he has discreetly confined any disagreements with colleagues to private exchanges, Hogg has been repeatedly passed over for cabinet appointments by Premier Christy Clark and her predecessor, Gordon Campbell.

While he apparently retains his posts as caucus chair and parliamentary secretary to the Minister of Social Development, and a slew of committee appointments, Hogg – yet again – has been left out in the cold in Clark’s latest cabinet shuffle, occasioned last week by the impending departure of finance minister Kevin Falcon, education minister George Abbott, transportation minister Blair Lekstrom and children and family development minister Mary McNeil.

This, after some 15 years service to the party and the people, since first winning office in a byelection in 1997 and handily defeating all contenders in subsequent provincial elections. Indeed, Hogg continues to impress many on all sides as a voice of reason and a man of principle.

Yet although he has served – by all accounts well – the portfolios of minister of state for mining, ActNow B.C., and children and family development, the veteran politician is clearly not seen as cabinet material by Clark, even with the rapidly dwindling roster at her disposal.

By contrast, Surrey-Panorama MLA Stephanie Cadieux – still a rookie after three-and-a-half years in office and with a bad fumble on her record over pay raises for Community Living BC executives in her most recent post as social development minister – has moved on to the Children and Family Development portfolio. (Although that post can arguable be viewed as a political tar baby).

The apparent snub to Hogg begs a few questions. Assuming he has not requested a lower-paying, lower-ranked position with the B.C. Liberals, is Hogg viewed as too useful as caucus chair and in his parliamentary and committee work to be burdened with additional responsibilities?

Has he blotted his copybook in some manner that has never been – publicly, at least – revealed? Or has he simply committed the unpardonable sin of speaking his mind to people unprepared to hear his views? Only the premier knows for sure.

– Black Press

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