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Opposition critics will put Campbell government feet to the fire, says Barry O’Neill

BURNABY Official Opposition leader Carole James has chosen a shadow cabinet that strikes the right balance for B.C. communities while challenging Premier Gordon Campbell to provide open, accountable government for the next four years, CUPE BC president Barry O’Neill said today.

O’Neill said the NDP leader’s division of critic portfolios among all 33 members of the Opposition caucus was shrewd and appropriate, with most choices reflecting the experience and ability of those selected.

With this shadow cabinet, Carole James is addressing areas that the Campbell government has neglected for the past four years,” he said.

It’s really important that public health care, education and child care have strong, articulate voices fighting for them, and that will certainly be the case with David Cubberley, John Horgan and Diane Thorne. We also look forward to working with Gregor Robertson (Advanced Education) on the significant challenges facing the universities and colleges sector.”

O’Neill said that CUPE is obviously pleased to see one of its own members, Robin Austin, take on the high-stakes portfolio of fisheries, and to work with other NDP MLAs the union is well acquainted with (i.e. Chuck Puchmayr in Labour, Raj Chouhan in Human Rights, and Norm MacDonald in Municipal Affairs).

But James, he added, has also made some bold choices that signal a clear direction by the NDP.

Carole James made a commitment before the election that her New Democrat caucus would fight tooth-and-nail to stop the privatization of our public services. By assigning Crown Corporations and BC Ferries to individual critics, it’s clear that she intends to keep that promise.”

Contact: Dan Gawthrop, Communications Representative, (604) 291-1940.