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Fassbender exits education as Clark shuffles B.C. cabinet

VICTORIA – Premier Christy Clark shuffled her cabinet Thursday, moving Peter Fassbender from the education ministry and appointing him the minister responsible for Metro Vancouver’s transit woes.

VICTORIA – Premier Christy Clark shuffled her cabinet Thursday, moving Peter Fassbender from the education ministry and appointing him the minister responsible for Metro Vancouver’s transit woes.

Fassbender is now Minister Responsible for TransLink, as well as the Minister of Community, Sport and Cultural Development.

The move sees TransLink’s responsibility hived off from the Ministry of Transportation, where Todd Stone had struggled to resolve the transit dispute after the failure of a plebiscite for a new transit tax in the Lower Mainland.

The premier has tapped backbencher Mike Bernier, the MLA for Peace River South, to become the new Education Minister. That move comes after Fassbender withstood a lengthy strike by the B.C. Teachers’ Federation that led to a negotiated contract last year. Clark has said she wants to forge a new relationship with the teachers' union, to try and resolve decades of dysfunctional labour negotiations.

Coralee Oakes moved the community ministry to become Minister of Small Business, Red-Tape Reduction and Minister Responsible for Liquor Distribution Branch.

Naomi Yamamoto was moved from the small business portfolio to Minister of State for Emergency Preparedness, underneath the Ministry of Transportation.

“Today's changes are about making sure British Columbians in every region benefit from our plan to create jobs by growing our strong and diverse economy," Clark said in a statement.

"We have the opportunity now to build on a record of student achievement with long-term labour peace in place, to strengthen our support for small business, which is the backbone of our economy, to work together with communities to prepare for the future, and to put in place a plan to prevent and manage emergencies or natural disasters so that our province can recover with our future secured."