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Eby shuffles cabinet amid ousting Robinson as post-secondary education minister

Robinson resigned in early February after controversial statements about Gaza
Citizens’ Services Minister Lisa Beare (left) has formally replaced Selina Robinson (right) as Post-Secondary Minister. Robinson resigned from cabinet, after having called pre-1948 Israel a “crappy piece of land with nothing on it.” (Twitter)

Citizens’ Service Minister Lisa Beare is formally replacing former cabinet minister Selina Robinson as B.C.’s new post-secondary education minister in the latest cabinet shuffle by the Eby government.

Eby had announced Robinson’s removal from cabinet on Feb. 5 following days of furor after she had called Gaza “a crappy piece of land with nothing on it” during an online forum with Jewish public officials on Jan. 30.

Robinson has since apologized twice and promised to take anti-Islamophobia training.

Beare is now stepping into her new role as B.C. continues to deal with the fall-out of Ottawa’s decision to cap the number of international students permitted to study in Canada. For years, international students have been contributing a growing share to the enrollment and budgets of post-secondary institutions in B.C.

But concerns about the quality of their education inside and outside of Canadian classrooms have prompted Ottawa’s decision to cap the numbers. Ottawa’s move has caught provinces including B.C. off guard with the province pushing for exemptions for certain types of professional studies in the face of skill shortages in health care and trades among other fields.

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Eby obliquely referenced that aspect in his statement announcing Beare’s new cabinet post.

“A key challenge in the years ahead is to make sure everyone in B.C. can seize the opportunities ahead of us,” he said. “I know that Lisa will do a great job ensuring that British Columbians are equipped to close the skills gap employers are facing.”

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George Chow, MLA for Vancouver-Fraserview, will assume the role of Citizens’ Service Minister.

“We have made incredible progress in modernizing services that people depend on, like delivering high-speed internet to more communities,” Eby said. “George will continue that work, as well as further our important anti-racism data initiatives.”

Monday’s cabinet shuffle was Chow’s second promotion in as many months.

On Jan. 15, Eby had announced Chow’s promotion to parliamentary secretary, as part of the cabinet shuffle that moved MLA Mitzi Dean from her previous post as Minister of Children and Family Development to Minister of State for Child Care. That cabinet shuffle followed various controversies in her ministries. Lore Grace, MLA for Victoria-Beacon Hill, now holds Dean’s old job.

Ravi Parmar, elected as MLA for Langford-Juan de Fuca in June 2023, will assume Chow’s former role as parliamentary secretary for international credentials.

Eby’s announcement comes as Lieutenant-Governor Janet Austin is set to deliver her Throne Speech to kick off the final parliamentary session of 2024, as well as 2024 Provincial Budget. A provincial election is scheduled for the fall.

Wolf Depner

About the Author: Wolf Depner

I joined the national team with Black Press Media in 2023 from the Peninsula News Review, where I had reported on Vancouver Island's Saanich Peninsula since 2019.
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