Congratulations to MLA Nicholas Simons on his appointment to the position of opposition critic for tourism, sports and the arts.
This portfolio is a great fit with Simons' interests and expertise. He has had a lifelong connection with the world of arts and culture, notably as a cellist who remains active in performance, in teaching and as president of the Sunshine Coast Arts Council. His interest in sports is also genuine; he's a baseball buff and a Montreal Canadiens fan, he coaches softball and he has played recreational hockey and eight-ball.
This portfolio is an equally good fit for Simons' riding. Tourism and arts are vital economic issues both on the lower Sunshine Coast and in Powell River. And as the interest in tomorrow's recreation referendum proves - have a look at the front page, opinion page and letters pages of this newspaper if you need proof - sport is a very hot political topic here as well.
Tourism, sports and arts is a relatively low-profile portfolio, particularly when compared with children and family development, another shadow cabinet post where Simons' name had been mentioned as a possibility. Simons' professional experience in social work certainly qualified him for that portfolio, but instead it went to old-school NDPer Adrian Dix, a former ministerial assistant to Glen Clark.
With Simons' history of working with First Nations, aboriginal affairs is another portfolio that might be a good fit. Former Tofino mayor Scott Fraser will fill that role.
Simons is a rookie MLA. He has plenty of time ahead to grow into the political roles that will best suit him. Simons and his constituents can be glad he's not sitting on the back benches of the legislature, but will have an opportunity to put his talents to use.
We'll be looking forward to seeing how Simons uses that opportunity.