Though he’s still not reached the two-year mark in provincial government, Penticton MLA Dan Ashton is already a junior cabinet minister.
Ashton, already a member of the Treasury Board and chair of the finance committee, was appointed parliamentary secretary for Finance Minister Mike de Jong by Premier Christy Clark last week.
Ashton said it’s an honour to work with de Jong and the finance ministry staff, noting that next to the premier, finance is the second ranking minister in cabinet.
“I am fiscally responsible, always have been, both inside and outside of public life, and I guess it has been noticed,” said Ashton. “I have always worked hard, and as many people know, I am a strong believer in good governance. I think I showed that at the City of Penticton, whether it was in the councillor’s position or as mayor.”
As Penticton mayor, Ashton led the city through a core review process that saw the city’s finances and staffing reorganized and participated in a similar process as chair of the Regional District Okanagan Similkameen.
“I am incredibly proud of what we were able to accomplish, both at the regional district and the City of Penticton by everybody working together,” he said.
Ashton said the accomplishments at the city and at RDOS were due to everyone working together, adding that he is good at working with people and ensuring they all come for a common cause.
“I am proud of what was accomplished at the City of Penticton. We were far from perfect, but we worked really hard,” he said. “It is my understanding that was noticed.”
Parliamentary secretaries are appointed to assist senior ministers in their duties. Ashton said the core review of the province he is working on with Minister Bill Bennett is wrapping up, and he will retain his seats on the Treasury Board and the finance committee, though not as chair.
“Being now a parliamentary secretary to the Minister of Finance, that is deemed not impartial, so I will remain on the committee but not as chair,” said Ashton.
Clark also appointed Peace River South MLA Mike Bernier as parliamentary secretary for Environment Minister Mary Polak, and North Vancouver-Seymour MLA Jane Thornthwaite as parliamentary secretary for Minister of Children and Family Development Stephanie Cadieux.
Amrik Virk, who had been minister of advanced education, swapped places with Andrew Wilkinson, who was minister of technology, innovation and citizens’ services.