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Oct. 25, 2022
VICTORIA – Blending experience with new perspectives, David Eby, premier-designate, has announced the team that will help him transition and deliver results for people on some of the biggest challenges facing the province.
Matt Smith will serve as chief of staff and Shannon Salter will be the deputy minister to the premier and head of the public service, while Amber Hockin and Don Bain will continue in their roles as deputy chiefs of staff. In addition to key staff roles, former finance minister Carole James and award-winning lawyer and First Nations negotiator Doug White have been appointed to co-chair the transition team.
“My transition team will be led by remarkable people who bring decades of experience along with new insights and perspectives from across the non-profit and private sectors,” Eby said. “With a team that brings new ideas from outside government but also understands how Victoria works, we can get results on the big challenges people in British Columbia are facing. I’m excited to have such a talented team beside me as we get to work for people.”
The premier-designate also thanked outgoing chief of staff Geoff Meggs and deputy minister to the premier Lori Wanamaker for their contributions to building a stronger British Columbia. Wanamaker praised the choice of Shannon Salter to succeed her in the role as head of the public service at this critical time.
“Our province has gone through one of the most difficult times in our history and there are no shortage of challenges ahead,” Wanamaker said. “I cannot think of anyone better suited to guide the public service through this period and help the next premier deliver results for British Columbians than Shannon Salter. She has done extraordinary work as the deputy attorney general and I have every confidence that she will help build on the government’s progress in the years ahead.”
Meggs said: “Matt Smith is a veteran of countless campaigns and has provided strategic advice to leaders across the country. I’m certain he’ll bring great commitment and skill to his new responsibilities in the Premier’s Office, continuing the current government’s approach of working for people.”
Eby’s team will begin work immediately on actions to tackle the cost of housing, the strain on health care, public safety and strengthening a sustainable economy for all British Columbians.
A backgrounder follows.
Office of the Premier
Premier-designate’s transition team
Matt Smith, chief of staff to the premier
Matt Smith is a public engagement and research professional. He is the former president of Strategic Communications Inc. – where he was responsible for planning, budgeting, human resources, staff recruitment and business development of the award-winning company. In 2021, he left StratCom to pursue a London School of Economics certificate MBA and start his own consultancy. Over the years, his clients have included Edmonton Mayor Amarjeet Sohi and Montreal Mayor Valerie Plante, as well as the Government of British Columbia.
Matt is passionate about building teams and campaigns that advance equity, build a sustainable economy and tackle climate change. He met Eby for the first time in 2007 through their respective work for people living in the Downtown Eastside of Vancouver. Most recently, he served as manager for Eby’s leadership campaign.
“My team and I valued Matt’s principled and strategic advice throughout the 2021 campaign,” said Amarjeet Sohi, Mayor of Edmonton. “He is a deeply knowledgeable and skilled strategist, committed to progressive policy, and I congratulate him on this important opportunity to serve.”
Jennifer Hassum, executive director of the Broadbent Institute, said: “Matt Smith is an eminently capable leader who cares about people. From managing teams to building bridges between stakeholders and engaging with the public, his skills, experience and dedication will bring immense value to the B.C. government.”
Shannon Salter, deputy minister and head of the public service
Shannon Salter is currently the deputy attorney general and deputy minister responsible for housing for British Columbia. She previously served as chair of the Civil Resolution Tribunal, Canada’s first online tribunal resolving small claims, condominium disputes, and motor vehicle accident disputes for almost eight years. She is also an adjunct professor at the UBC Allard School of Law where she has taught administrative law and legal ethics and professional regulation.
Named one of the top 25 most influential lawyers in Canada by Canadian Lawyer Magazine, Shannon was a B.C. Supreme Court judicial law clerk before practising civil litigation at a large Vancouver firm. She has served as a vice chair of the Workers’ Compensation Appeal Tribunal, vice-president of the BC Council of Administrative Tribunals, a director of the BC Financial Services Authority and a Law Society of British Columbia disciplinary hearing panel member.
“As a lawyer and a public servant, Shannon has always informed her decisions by consulting the people who they will impact the most,” said Jamie Maclaren, executive director of Access Pro Bono. “Her compassion and collaborative spirit have been central to making B.C.’s justice system more human-centred, and more responsive to the legal needs of all British Columbians.”
Stanley Hamilton, (Order of B.C. and Order of Canada recipient), chair of BC Financial Services Authority, said: “Shannon is a considerate, careful, strategic thinker who brings to the table a clarity of purpose and a strong focus on serving the public. I’m delighted to see her accept this role to lead the public service and continue to offer her skills and dedication for the people of British Columbia.”
Carole James, transition co-chair
As a former finance minister and deputy premier, Carole James helped guide British Columbia through one of the most challenging periods in history by putting people at the centre of all her decisions. Under her leadership, B.C. made historic investments in the public services families rely on and helped bring down costs by eliminating MSP and cutting child care fees, all while responsibly managing the province’s finances.
A community leader for more than 25 years, Carole also served as president of the B.C. School Trustees Association for an unprecedented five terms before being elected as three times as MLA her home riding of Victoria Beacon Hill. Since her retirement from elected politics, Carole has served as an adviser to Premier John Horgan and a board member at the Royal BC Museum.
“Carole James is the best premier B.C. never had,” Premier Horgan said. “She is wise and compassionate. For that, she is beloved by the people of Victoria, and around the province. As a former deputy premier and finance minister, she is well positioned to offer sage counsel to the new premier.”
Doug White, Kwulasultun, transition co-chair
Doug White is an award-winning lawyer and negotiator for First Nations across the country. He is the chair of the BC First Nations Justice Council, co-chair of BC’s Provincial Advisory Committee for Indigenous and Specialized Courts and Related Initiatives, director of the federal Nanaimo Port Authority, and BC Housing commissioner.
Doug is a member, former Chief, and former councillor of the Snuneymuxw First Nation in Nanaimo. He was a member of the First Nations Summit Task Group and the BC First Nations Leadership Council working on common issues with First Nations in B.C., and advocated on their behalf with the governments of British Columbia, Canada and internationally at the United Nations. He was also the director of the Centre for Pre- Confederation Treaties and Reconciliation at Vancouver Island University.
“Doug White, with his extensive experience in leadership, justice and advocacy, is well suited to assist premier-designate Eby and his transition team,” said Terry Teegee, Regional Chief of the BC Assembly of First Nations. “I am optimistic that these decisions to include First Nations experts and leaders will benefit everyone in B.C., and it is necessary to cultivate stable and predictable leadership during these times of economic uncertainty and social upheaval caused by the pandemic and the climate emergency. I look forward to working with premier-designate Eby and the provincial cabinet to improve the lives and governance of First Nations in B.C.”
Rosalie Yazzie, vice-chair, BC First Nations Justice Council, said: “First and foremost, I would like to express my sincere congratulations to Mr. David Eby who is set to be our province’s next premier. I would also like to acknowledge Mr. Eby’s excellent choice of Kwulasultun, Douglas S. White III, KC, as the co-chair of the premier’s transition team. I have known Kwulasultun in his numerous roles as lawyer, leader, colleague and friend. Mr. Eby could not have done any better in selecting a co-chair with in-depth knowledge both of First Nations issues in British Columbia and a true leader and scholar within the legal profession. Mr. White is an experienced and valued leader in any capacity he serves and his Snuneymuxw and Nuu-chah-nulth lineages have brought a wealth of wisdom and knowledge that will benefit our next premier during this time of transition.”
Office of the Premier
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