MLA Coell on cabinet change

Saanich North and the Islands rep is looking forward to time at home

  • Mar. 30, 2011 8:00 p.m.

Saanich North and the Islands MLA Murray Coell is looking forward to spending more time at home in the riding.

Coell, who has spent the last 10 years in cabinet in Gordon Campbell’s Liberal government was not given a post by new Premier Christy Clark.

“I’ve held five different cabinet positions: Human Resources; Community, Aboriginal and Women’s Services; Advanced Education and Research and Technology; Advanced Education and Labour Market Development; Labour and Environment,” said Coell.

He said the last three months since Campbell decided to step down have been both “interesting” and “exciting” and he is putting a positive spin on his lack of portfolio.

“The beauty of it for me is being able to spend more time in my constituency — it’s very positive from an MLA’s perspective. I can see more of Corinne (Coell’s wife) and our friends and family, so there’s two positive outcomes.”

“I intend to really switch to more business within the constituency than you can when you’re in cabinet, which is very enjoyable for me.”

Coell said the new premier is making a positive impression on people. “Her changes to the cabinet really signals a new generation of BC Liberals. Bringing from the Island Don McRae is

something I always supported — he’s a strong leader for the party.” He said of the Comox Valley MLA who was named Minister of Agriculture in the new Clark cabinet.

“They are young and enthusiastic, and I think what we need as a party is to bring new and young people to the forefront. The cabinet will be very well placed a year from now.”

Coell was first elected to office 27 years ago when he became a Saanich councillor. He also spent six years as Saanich mayor, he moved to provincial politics in 1996.

“Getting back into the constituency I will enjoy a lot. The last two years of my life have been the busiest I’ve ever had, probably with the most changes as well. For 17 years we’ve had no leadership conventions and I’m very proud of the campaigns — the positive campaigns — we had. The party signed up a lot of new members and brought a lot of new energy back to the party, now there is a platform of good government for people to look at.”

Coell is in favour of the mail-in ballot for the HST referendum. “To have a mail-in, it’s less expensive — about $8 million versus $30 million for ballots at polling stations.”

Cost aside, he said the referendum will go ahead. “Everyone in the legislature has supported the referendum act. It gives people the right to have their say in major decisions — the electorate spoke loud and clear last fall.”