John Rustad said he was "very disappointed" to miss the cabinet cut in Christy Clark's new executive. He is still set on being the government's candidate in the May election, however, in his riding of Nechako-Lakes.
"I think I have shown my skills to my government colleagues and fellow MLAs on both sides of the house," he said from his Cluculz Lake home following Wednesday's cabinet shuffle. "I hope I have for my constituents also."
Rustad has has been tasked to several high-agenda committees and spent the summer leading the legislative task force to evaluate the province's mid-term timber supply and make recommendations to reshape the industry in ways to best balance the interests of the environment and industry.
From 2009 to 2011, he was the parliamentary secretary on the topic of silviculture. On Monday premier Christy Clark assigned him this title again, but expanded it to include all of forestry. It is one step below cabinet, but still outside the executive chambers.
"I would certainly like to be in cabinet, but in the context of our caucus roles, I serve at the pleasure of the premier and she doesn't wish me for a cabinet role yet," Rustad said. "But there is a lot of work to do, it is important work, and you have to balance the provincial work asked of you by the premier and the work asked of you from your riding constituents. That is every MLA's balance to strike."
Rustad spent his pre-government days in private sector forestry jobs and small business.
"Forestry is obviously a very import portfolio for my region and the province, and I'll do what I can to contribute," he said. "I have spent most of my working career in and around forestry, so it nice to be able to serve the public with those skills."
He said the expected workload, especially considering his summer tour of the province with the timber supply committee, was daunting and "I'll have to speak with the premier about that." He is currently serving also on the legislative review committee, the environment and land use committee and the Treasury Board.
The area's other MLAs saw little change in Monday's cabinet shuffle. Pat Bell (Prince George-Mackenzie) and Shirley Bond (Prince George-Valemount) retained the bulk of their previous cabinet duties.