New faces added to political aide roster

With a change at the top has comes a change at the bottom. In addition to shuffling cabinet earlier this week, the new Clark administration also reassigned the government's ministerial and executive assistants - recruiting a few new aides in the process. You can check out the complete list below. The new recruits include:

Ken Dawson
ministerial assistant to Education Minister George Abbott

Mr. Dawson, who yesterday stepped down as chair of the Comox Valley Airport Commission, is also a former school trustee. He had been a director with the commission since 2005. According to the airport's Website, Mr. Dawson has "worked in the fields of management consulting and finance."

Gabe Garfinkel
executive assistant to Advanced Education Minister Naomi Yamamoto

Mr. Garfinkel has been the office manager and communications and outreach director for Vancouver-Quadra federal Liberal MP Joyce Murray since September 2009. This, according to his LinkedIn page. He is also listed as being the secretary for her constituency association.

Michael Lee
executive assistant to Social Development Minister Harry Bloy

Mr. Lee was one of Mr. Bloy's constituency assistants. Introducing him in the legislature in March 2009, the Burnaby-Lougheed MLA described him as a "recent graduate - a year ago - of Simon Fraser University."

Brian Menzies
ministerial assistant to Health Minister Mike de Jong

Mr. Menzies was a ministerial assistant between January 2001 and 2004, leaving the Rockpile to startup his own consulting business - Direct Public Strategies Inc. This, according to his LinkedIn page. In that role, he's lobbied the government on behalf of the BC Wood Specialities Group.

Chris Sandve
executive assistant to Education Minister George Abbott

Mr. Sandve was a field organizer for the provincial Liberals. He is also past president of the party's youth wing.

Sandy Wakeling
executive assistant to Health Minister Mike de Jong

Mr. Wakeling was the former constituency assistant to Maple Ridge-Pitt Meadows MLA Ken Stewart, who lost his seat in 2005 to New Democrat Michael Sather. Mr. Wakeling also made an unsuccessful bid to be a Pitt Meadows city councillor in 2005. He was more recently responsible for launching a Draft Christy for B.C. Liberal Leader Facebook page.


Aboriginal relations and reconciliation (Mary Polak)

Ministerial assistant - Frank Costa
Executive assistant - Cayley Brown

Advanced education (Naomi Yamamoto)

Ministerial assistant - Debbie Smollett
Executive assistant - Sarah Elder
Executive assistant - Gabe Garfinkel

Agriculture (Don McRae)

Ministerial assistant - RJ Senko
Executive assistant - Don Smukowich

Attorney general (Barry Penner)

Ministerial assistant - Joel McLaughlin
Ministerial assistant - Chris Tupper
Executive assistant - Carleen Kerr

Children and family development (Mary McNeil)

Ministerial assistant - Valerie Richmond
Ministerial assistant - Debbie MacLean
Executive assistant - John Manning

Community, sport and cultural development (Ida Chong)

Ministerial assistant - Christine Lewis
Executive assistant - Matt Holme

Education (George Abbott)

Ministerial assistant - Ken Dawson
Ministerial assistant - Lindsay Coburn
Executive assistant - Chris Sandve

Energy and mines (Rich Coleman)

Ministerial assistant - Tobie Myers
Ministerial assistant - Penelope Chandler
Executive assistant - Jordan Bell

Environment (Terry Lake)

Ministerial assistant - Rishi Sharma
Executive assistant - Sean Murry
Executive assistant - Sabrina Loiacono

Finance (Kevin Falcon)

Ministerial assistant - Samantha Howard
Ministerial assistant - Joanna Richards
Executive assistant - Corrie Delisle
Executive assistant - Aaron Sutherland

Forests, lands and natural resources (Steve Thomson)

Ministerial assistant - Bruce Strongitharm
Executive assistant - Kiel Giddens

Health (Mike de Jong)

Ministerial assistant - Brian Menzies
Ministerial assistant - Barinder Bhullar
Executive assistant - Sandy Wakeling
Executive assistant - Jennifer Wright

Jobs, tourism and innovation (Pat Bell)

Ministerial assistant - Matt MacInnis
Ministerial assistant - TJ Parhar
Executive assistant - Cameron Ehl

Labour, citizens' services and open government (Stephanie Cadieux)

Ministerial assistant - Spencer Sproule
Ministerial assistant - Raechelle Williams
Executive assistant - Alicia Owens

Public safety and solicitor general (Shirley Bond)

Ministerial assistant - Marc Douglas
Executive assistant - Karen Bill
Executive assistant - Chris Steinbach

Social development (Harry Bloy)

Ministerial assistant - Joan Dick
Executive assistant - Nancy Hintz
Executive assistant - Michael Lee

Transportation and infrastructure (Blair Lekstrom)

Ministerial assistant - Fraser Randall
Executive assistant - Michael Crawford


So what will these people be doing besides nothing and how do they get paid?

Lawson1945 believe me each and everyone of these key people in the Ministers office work very hard and in a big way make the job of being a Minister easier.

These are political appointments paid by us and will be working hard to advance Christy Clark's political agenda. This is called an essential service in political circles.

The alternative to paying for ministerial aides is a greater role for lobbyists. There was at least one 2006 paper looking at the subject:

Essentially, if you restrict the ability of a politician to do research and be well versed in issues by under-resourcing them, you get a government held hostage by those interests that can provide them with legislative support. There was a post by Matthew Yglesias today, talking about how these restrictions have incapacitated Arizona:

Therefore ministerial aids should not be political appointments. If they are then they will tell the minister what she/he wants to hear and the public will not be well served.

Ideally, yeah, but if you don't get to make the call on who your primary advisor is, you've doomed yourself to an eternity of Yes, Minister.

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