Abbott named education minister

It’s official: Shuswap MLA George Abbott is sworn in as Minister of Education by Lieutenant Governor Stephen L. Point at Government House in Victoria.

It’s official: Shuswap MLA George Abbott is sworn in as Minister of Education by Lieutenant Governor Stephen L. Point at Government House in Victoria.

George Abbott got the job he wanted.

The Shuswap MLA was named education minister by Premier Christy Clark Monday.

“I’m excited to re-engage with the education ministry and stakeholders,” said Abbott.

“I was hoping to be returned to the ministry.”

Abbott was appointed education minister by then-premier Gordon Campbell in October, but soon left the post so he could seek the Liberal leadership.

On Tuesday, Abbott was meeting with senior ministry staff and becoming reacquainted with issues facing the portfolio. He anticipates some changes will occur in classrooms.

“There’s a lot of interesting initiatives that could be taken to reform the system,” he said.

“There’s an opportunity to sit down with the partners, such as the B.C. Teachers Federation, and work with them to see how they believe we can improve the education system.”

Clark, who was sworn in as B.C.’s 35th premier Monday, has announced a cabinet of 17 ministers.

“When cabinets are adjusted, that provides new energy,” said Abbott, adding that  he believes the new cabinet will provide solid leadership for the province.

Kevin Falcon will serve as finance minister and deputy premier, while Barry Penner is attorney general, Steve Thomson is forests minister and health minister is Mike de Jong.

Missing from cabinet is Colin Hansen, who was finance minister and deputy premier.

Abbott would not speculate on Hansen’s departure or if he was removed from cabinet because of his strong support for the harmonized sales tax.

“Colin was a very good colleague for 10 years and he made a huge contribution to public life in B.C.,” said Abbott.