Buried in an unmarked grave

Gordon Campbell may not have had the gumption to fire any ministers from cabinet. But the premier did whip up a dish of pink slip surprise for some of the provincial government's top bureaucrats. There wasn't a press release announcing it, but agriculture, food and fisheries deputy minister Rory McAlpine did send out an email to employees on Thursday advising them "I will not have a place in the organizational changes being announced today and will be leaving the provincial government effective immediately." He's been replaced by Laurence Pedersen.

Tony Heemskerk, the deputy solicitor general, and Bill Valentine, the associate deputy minister responsible for Land and Water British Columbia Inc., have also been exited from the the bureaucracy. Mr. Heeskerk's successor is British Columbia Ambulance Service chief executive officer David Morhart. And Mr. Valentine has been replaced on an acting basis by Jim Yardley.

Meanwhile, deputy minister Jack Ebbels, who has been heading up the government's offshore oil and gas team, has been telling his office he'll be retiring in the fall - although an official notice about that decision has not yet been sent out.

And community, aboriginal and women's services deputy minister Gerry Armstrong is also retiring - effective yesterday. He's been replaced at the new community services ministry by Sheila Wynn, who was the top bureaucrat at energy and mines.

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