Parksville-Qualicum MLA Michelle Stilwell after winning the 100m gold medal at the Paralympic World Championships in Lyon

New B.C. minister to face child support controversy

Paralympian MLA Michelle Stilwell takes over social development amid calls to increase social assistance, disability benefits

Parksville-Qualicum MLA Michelle Stilwell was sworn in Monday as B.C.’s minister for social development and social innovation.

Comox Valley MLA Don McRae asked to be relieved of his cabinet role last week to deal with an illness in his family, and Premier Christy Clark appointed Stilwell to replace him.

The ministry is in charge of social assistance, provincial disability assistance and Community Living B.C., the agency responsible for people with developmental disabilities.

The cabinet change comes as the ministry reviews its long-standing policy of deducting spousal child support payments from money paid to social assistance recipients. Stilwell will likely be a target of opposition critics on that and other poverty-related issues when the B.C. legislature reconvenes Feb. 10.

A multiple medal-winning Paralympic athlete in basketball and wheelchair racing, Stilwell was elected to the B.C. legislature in May 2013, and has served as B.C. Liberal caucus chair.

Clark named Abbotsford South MLA Darryl Plecas to replace Stilwell as parliamentary secretary for seniors.

Clark has said the B.C. Liberal government will table its third balanced budget on Feb. 17, after considering revenues and spending priorities such as an increase in social assistance rates.

 

Just Posted

OPINION: Ten signs that Port Alice has changed

“Right now, our lack of amenities is holding back economic growth in our village”

Striking Western Forest Products workers could lose benefits in September

Union, forest company at odds over Vancouver Island benefit payments as strike enters third month

Port McNeill council discusses ‘bear aware’ and what you can do to stay safe

Port McNeill’s Conservation Officer Brad Adams gave a presentation about being ‘bear aware’.

Port Hardy RCMP release tips to prevent fraud and theft from vehicles

In many of the incidents reported, “the vehicles that were broken into were unlocked.”

Stranded hikers rescued by helicopter on Mt. Schoen

Campbell River Search and Rescue used hoist operation to rescue trio

VIDEO: Ride to Conquer Cancer rolls into Hope

Thousands of cyclist descend on small town for annual cancer fundraiser

VIDEO: Ride to Conquer Cancer rolls into Hope

Thousands of cyclist descend on small town for annual cancer fundraiser

Island murder victim’s mom expresses outrage over mental fitness decision of the accused

Smith vows to keep fighting until justice served for Descoteau

B.C. VIEWS: Pipelines set to roll as federal politicians posture

Projects to drive B.C., Canadian economy in years ahead

B.C. Lions fall to 1-9 after 13-10 loss to Ticats

Lowly Leos have dropped six straight CFL contests

VIDEO: B.C. woman meets biological mother, 38 years later

Mother never gave up hope of finding daughter, despite all the obstacles

B.C. man who died after rescuing swimmer was known for helping others

Shaun Nugent described as a dad, a coach, a hero and ‘stand-up guy’ at celebration of life

B.C. RCMP plane chases fleeing helicopter as part of major cross-border drug bust

The helicopter eventually landed at a rural property near Chilliwack

Vancouver Island man dead after reported hit-and-run incident

Oceanside RCMP seek public’s help gathering information

Most Read