Harper unveils new cabinet - Macleans.ca

Harper unveils new cabinet

Few notable changes include Baird at foreign affairs, Clement to Treasury Board


Stephen Harper pulled back the curtain on a new, slightly larger cabinet on Tuesday. Among the most notable changes are John Baird taking over for the departed Lawrence Cannon as foreign affairs minister and Tony Clement’s shift to the Treasury Board. Quebec MP Maxime Bernier is back in cabinet after a long exile and was named minister of state for small business. Small changes aside, Harper’s cabinet looks mostly like the old one: Finance Minister Jim Flaherty is staying put, as are Defence Minister Peter MacKay, Public Safety Minister Vic Toews, Public Works Minister Rona Ambrose, Human Resources Minister Diane Finley, International Co-operation Minister Bev Oda, Agricultural Minister Gerry Ritz, Environment Minister Peter Kent, Labour Minister Lisa Raitt and Heritage Minister James Moore. In all, membership in cabinet grew by one to 39, tying it with Brian Mulroney’s as the largest in Canadian history.

The Globe and Mail

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Harper unveils new cabinet

  1. I suspect that the small number of changes is due to the fact there is a some legislation that dates back to the minority parliaments, such as the budget, crime bills, and various others, so it’s much easier to keep the same ministers on those various files.  In a couple of years I’d expect that he would start bringing in the new blood to reinvigorate cabinet.

    • That might be true for “smaller” portfolios, but you typically don’t want to change players on “big” portfolios like foreign affairs and defense a half-dozen times in the span of a few years. It doesn’t reflect well on a country, and it’s difficult for other countries to coordinate with ours if our FA minister keeps changing. Harper changed defense and foreign affairs ministers 3 or 4 times in the past 5 years. That doesn’t look good on us as a country.

      While I wish Chris Alexander was FA minister, I’m afraid Baird will probably be there for at least three years. Maybe in the 4th year someone else will take over, but by then what’s the point? Everyone will be distracted by an impending election, and no meaningful work will get done.

  2. A little tweek I have been suggesting for years:  

    “Indian affairs minister has a new title, putting to rest an outdated term by announcing John Duncan as Minister of Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development.” 

  3. I just wish that Oda had been punted. She brought the contempt issue to the fore and needed to be replaced. Chris Alexander would have stepped nicely into that role and brought a high level of credibility to it. 

    • Yeah I agree, but if you think about it, he owes her one, big time! I think he will shuffle her eventually. 

  4.  So are “Cabinet” and “Ministry” synonyms now?  It seems to me that the number of senior ministers (those MPs who – I thought – formed the Cabinet) has stayed the same at 27 (I’m assuming an Associate Minister of Defence is roughly akin to being a Minister of State).

    Would anyone care to enlighten me as to whether the Cabinet/Ministry distinction still exists?

  5. Chris Alexander’s exclusion, and Max Bernier’s relatively minor role in cabinet are disappointing.

    Alexander should be foreign affairs minister, and Bernier did a great job at industry (he was minister when the government announced the wireless spectrum auction).

    A libertarian-leaning MP like Bernier is needed in Industry, given the recent rulings on UBB and other telco-related matters. The industry needs drastic change, and deregulation/reducing foreign investment restrictions would go a long way to help. (Although Macleans would disagree, considering their pathetic opinion piece on UBB, and given that Rogers signs the cheques at Macleans).

  6. Oh, my… I feel a little BLOATED!!

    Baird seems too much of a blowhard to be in Foreign Affairs – is he capable of finesse? And whose bright idea was it to let Tony anywhere near the money? I mean, he’s not the brightest bulb, and he has a thing for porkbarrels…

    I’m surprised that my MP, Bal Gosal, was chosen over Parm Gill, given Gill’s high-profile victory over Ruby Dhalla.

  7. Past nicey-nicey, duplicitous, and over the top
    politically correct foreign ministers (global) did not do much in helping UN
    retain its integrity and credibility.  I believe all the above contribute
    to the fast decline of UN.  It’s time to have a different tact and have someone
    who is not afraid to speak his mind and stand  up for our values and
    principles as well as give those officious, arrogant, useless pricks heck from
    time to time.  Go bully and rouse those useless boring nincompoops Baird!

  8.  I’m worried that Baird in Foreign Affairs will be akin to John Bolton being named US ambassador to the UN (under Bush II).  At the same time, there’s not much harm he can do…our country has become an international pariah on most of the important files anyway.  Baird can’t make it much worse.

  9. A little levity…