BC Liberal caucus welcomes back Bill Bennett
After a meeting in Vancouver on Tuesday, B.C. premier Christy Clark and BC Liberals caucus chairman Ron Cantelon announced that Kootenay East MLA Bill Bennett had been welcomed back into caucus. Cantelon said Bennett has always been a valued contributor to the party and his return is welcome.
“I’m excited to be back in the BC Liberal government caucus, under new leadership,” Bennett states on Wednesday morning. “I think we have a wonderful opportunity to develop a different approach to dealing with the citizens of the province.”
Bennett hoped this new approach under premier Clark would be more respectful and inclusive. Bennett also thought having a woman as the new leader of the province would be an exciting opportunity, bringing a different perspective to leadership.
“I look forward to helping her be successful,” Bennett said. “She’s already done some things that I wish we would have done some time ago, such as raise the minimum wage.”
Bennett also explained he heard from his constituents that they wanted him back as a government MLA, believing he could do more for the area from inside government. “I was, I think, quite active as an independent, but that’s generally quite true; so I wanted to respond to what my constituents wanted.”
“I was welcomed back quite graciously yesterday by caucus,” Bennett stated. With the HST referendum coming up as well as a potential provincial election, Bennett continued, these will be exciting and busy times to be in government.
He promised to continue focusing on the many local issues, such as the Koocanusa boat launch, wildlife allocation issues, the need of an ICU at the Regional Hospital and senior care.
Bennett was fired as the energy minister in November after he publicly criticized former premier Gordon Campbell’s reorganization of natural resource ministries. He then launched a lengthy tirade against Campbell’s “bullying,” and he was expelled from the party caucus at its next meeting.
He has since said he regrets his personal comments about Campbell, which were intended to put pressure on him to step down sooner, and Bennett was willing to apologize to caucus.