One on One with Honorable Harry Bloy, Minister of Social Development and Minister Responsible for Multiculturalism in British Columbia
Harry Bloy was appointed Minister of Social Development and Minister Responsible for Multiculturalism on March 14, 2011. He was first elected in the riding of Burquitlam in 2001. He was re-elected for a third time in 2009 in the new riding of Burnaby-Lougheed.
In addition to his ministerial responsibilities, Harry was appointed to be a member of Treasury Board as well as the Cabinet Committee on Families First.
Until his appointment to the Executive Council, Harry served as deputy chair of the Committee of the Whole and previously served on a wide variety of other committees including:
• Finance and Government Services;
• Parliamentary Reform, Ethical Conduct, Standing Orders and Private Bills
• Legislative initiatives
• Crown corporations
• Public Accounts
• Special Committee to Review the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act.
Before becoming a parliamentarian, Harry worked for many years in the retail grocery industry and held senior management and ownership positions in the convenience store sector. His diverse business background and range of experiences included work with a local telecommunications company, from which he resigned as president prior to becoming an MLA (Member of the Legislative Assembly).
MLA Bloy answered the following questions:
TAN : How would you describe your journey through politics, your role and appointment in the current position and its essential responsibilities?
A. When I was 14 I went to a political rally because hockey players were going to be there. I thought the hockey players were going to be the highlight, but I met some other very interesting people that day, like former Ontario Premiers John Robarts and Bill Davis.
Over the next few years, listening to political speakers with passion and commitment inspired me. Could their words really lead to change?
My own political career began by handing out flyers, going door-to-door, and working on many campaigns. When I moved to Vancouver and wanted to meet some like-minded people, I joined a party and became active in my community of Burnaby.
I ran for the Burnaby school board twice and also ran once – unsuccessfully – for Mayor in Burnaby before running provincially in 2001. It was then that I became an MLA.
I was re-elected in 2005 to represent the wonderful people of Burquitlam and again in 2009 to represent the new riding of Burnaby-Lougheed.
On March 14th, 2011 I was appointed Minister of Social Development and Minister responsible for Multiculturalism.
As Minister of Social Development, I am working hard to ensure that everyone can participate in the economic, social and cultural opportunities of British Columbia by assisting people to achieve their potential in the community and the workplace.
In my role as Minister responsible for Multiculturalism, my focus is on promoting cultural, social and linguistic diversity throughout the province, and to provide support so communities are welcoming and inclusive of all citizens.
TAN: As we observe our multicultural diversity continuing to grow, what observations have you made in this regard and how are you planning to work with the vital role this growth plays in our society’s overall development?
A. As part of my portfolio, I have the honour of being Minister responsible for Multiculturalism.
British Columbia is one of the world’s most culturally diverse regions. We have over 180 cultural, religious and linguistic communities represented across the province. This includes more than 200,000 Aboriginal people who have their own languages and cultures.
Multiculturalism is an important and growing part of our provincial identity, and it is vital to recognize, honour and celebrate it.
The contributions of immigrants – combined with the achievements of our First Nations and unique Aboriginal heritage – have helped make BC one of the most multicultural societies anywhere on earth.
British Columbia’s multicultural communities will benefit from our governments Families First focus, which aims to create jobs, empower people, build safer communities for everyone and put families first.
Our government will continue to work on creating a society where there are no barriers to the full and free participation of all citizens in the economic, social, cultural and political life of our province.
TAN: What do you wish to accomplish and most succeed at in your appointment mandate?
A. My ministry is about helping families in their greatest time of need when they have no one else to turn to. This includes providing income assistance and employment programs, as well as supports for those who are disabled and people who have many barriers to taking care of themselves.
As Minister of Social Development, my goal is to help people and families become self-sufficient so they can contribute to an expanding economy and healthy communities.
As Minister responsible for Multiculturalism, I am committed to celebrating diversity of British Columbia and support newcomers and families to BC by helping to remove barriers to their success.
TAN: What has inspired you most in your life and if you were in your youth starting over again is there anything you might do differently?
A. I love this job. It has opened up a whole new world to me.
I have had opportunities to learn and do so many great things as an MLA and now as Minister of Social Development and Minister responsible for Multiculturalism. It is wonderful to meet interesting and inspiring people from all around our beautiful province.