The B.C. government has created a new Oil and Strategic Initiatives Division and tapped a former journalist to lead it.
Fazil Mihlar, a former associate editor at the Vancouver Sun, was named assistant deputy minister in charge of the new division Thursday. It exists within the Natural Gas Development Ministry, under minister Rich Coleman.
The new office will “have responsibility for overseeing oil development in British Columbia,” the government said in a statement.
“This division will be the province’s first point of contact for current or future major oil projects.”
The office will also make sure major oil proposals meet Premier Christy Clark’s five requirements: for environmental review, spill response, spill prevention, First Nations consultation and a “fair share” of financial benefits for B.C., the government said.
Mihlar has a degree in economics from Simon Fraser University, a masters in public administration from Carleton University, a marketing diploma from the Chartered Institute of Marketing in England and a certificate in risk management from Harvard University.
The creation of the new office came amid the shuffle of 18 senior bureaucrats within the government.
Seven assistant deputy ministers either retired or left government for different jobs. One ADM was let go, the government confirmed.
Scott MacDonald left his job as CEO of the government’s Pacific Carbon Trust to become assistant deputy minister of the Labour Market and Immigration Division.
His departure comes as the Pacific Carbon Trust, the Crown agency responsible for managing carbon offsets, undergoes an internal government review.
Environment Minister Mary Polak said MacDonald did not leave the job because of that review.
“There’s nothing to draw from it other than he’s moving on to another opportunity that he was interested in,” Polak said in an interview.
“As things move around in government, especially after the election, a lot of these decisions don’t happen over night.”