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Moira Stilwell sidelined in Christy Clark's cabinet, sources say Add to ...

Former Liberal leadership candidate Moira Stilwell is among those who will be on the outside looking in when B.C. premier-designate Christy Clark announces her cabinet Monday.

Dr. Stilwell, a former cabinet minister, will not be one of Ms. Clark's ministers. Instead, she will be named parliamentary secretary in charge of innovation. She will have a reporting relationship with the minister in charge of a newly-created portfolio for jobs.

According to sources, the conversation between Ms. Clark and Dr. Stilwell was brief. Dr. Stilwell was apparently in a state of shock over the news.

Murray Coell and Iain Black will also not be returning to cabinet. Ida Chong, meantime, will be coming back as municipal affairs minister.

Dr. Stilwell's demotion is surprising. A physician trained in nuclear medicine, Dr. Stilwell is one of the brightest minds in the Liberal caucus. She was recruited by Premier Gordon Campbell in the 2009 election, and was all but guaranteed a cabinet post when she ran.

She was one of Mr. Campbell's must trustworthy ministers and performed well in colleges and regional economic development, the last post she held before resigning to run for the Liberal leadership. But it was during her unlikely bid for the leadership that Dr. Stilwell shone, impressing many with her thoughtful and articulate responses on a range of policy topics.

She eventually withdrew from the race to support George Abbott. Most political commentators believed Dr. Stilwell was in for a major promotion, possibly to the health portfolio. Because she is relatively new to politics, she also fit nicely within the parameters of Ms. Clark's touted call for change in government and around the cabinet table.

Ms. Clark will shrink cabinet to 18 members from 23, as part of a shift that will also see women occupy one-third of the positions, sources told The Globe and Mail.

A half-dozen current members of the cabinet will not be returning as part of the restructuring that will be unveiled as Ms. Clark and her cabinet are sworn in on Monday.

The cabinet will consist of 17 members, plus Ms. Clark, a former deputy premier and education minister, who was elected leader of the BC Liberals last month.

There will be no ministers of state in the new cabinet.

However, there will be a newly energized role for parliamentary secretaries, including a parliamentary secretary to the premier.

Ms. Clark is planning a major jobs focus with the creation of a jobs, tourism and innovation ministry that will absorb pieces from various previous ministries into one focused on job creation, sources said.

As part of the restructuring, colleges will be put back with universities.

Ms. Clark, who returned to government after a four-year stint working as radio talk-show host in Vancouver, has kept a low profile as she assembled the cabinet.

Observers are describing the new cabinet as a test of her decisiveness and her plans to pursue the change agenda that was central to her campaign for the Liberal leadership.

She will also face challenges managing a caucus where only one member backed her leadership bid, while support was largely divided between Mr. Abbott, the former education minister, and Kevin Falcon, the former health minister.

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