The job for Jim


This story should put the kibosh on all that speculation of a major cabinet shuffle in the works – one that would see Jim Prentice and Jim Flaherty switch jobs. This was always an awful idea. Flaherty’s been a big-spending mess of a Finance minister, but Prentice would almost certainly be worse: at Industry, he has taken a series of decisions at Industry that can only be described as anti-market, anti-consumer, anti-competition, and anti-trade – which makes him a favourite with the current crop of Tories, who praise his “pragmatism.” 

On the other hand, there is still the matter of replacing the departed Maxime Bernier at Foreign Affairs. My suggestion: Jim Prentice. Everything that makes him wrong for an economic portfolio – the disdain for fixed principle, the concern for appearances, the reflexive triangulation – makes him the perfect diplomat. He’s a “safe pair of hands,” as they say, and is known to enjoy Harper’s confidence: Foreign capitals could be sure he spoke for the government. It would be a fitting promotion for a minister who has performed well politically, but who should be kept far, far away from the economic levers.

CODA: And for Industry? It’s obvious: chair of the Commons Industry committee, the former Conservative Industry critic, James (Jim) Rajotte.


The job for Jim

  1. Hey, why stop there? How many more Jim’s do they have? It sure would make it easier for PMSH to keep track of names at the Cabinet Meeting…

  2. Sadly for good governance (but not for the opposition parties) the Conservatives have a surfeit of incompetent/clueless MPs that either don’t deserve their cabinet postings (Hi there!, Gary Lunn, Tony Clement, John Baird, Vic Toews, Stockwell Day, …. well, you get the point), or who would be disastrous if they ever got promoted to cabinet (Pierre Poilievre and Rob Anders come to mind).

    Out of this gallery of mostly lame ducks Jim Prentice looks downright impressive by comparison. So, now that Jim Flaherty has alienated a large majority of Ontario voters (the very people you need to win a majority) with his overheated partisanship and useless scrapping with McGuinty, I’d say you could do a lot worse than Prentice as Finance Minister.

    But maybe there won’t be a cabinet shuffle after all since Harper will be busy all summer telling Canadians that the Liberal leader is trying to “screw” them in a “crazy” fashion. Classy guy.

  3. Coyne, you forgot Quebec. You cannot have a shuffle without a Quebec guy in one of the senior posts. Keep Emerson at Foreign, move Cannon to Trade, and somebody – anybody – to transport. Baird to Transport, Kenney to Environment?

  4. The Industry portfolio needs someone with the unassuming competence of John Manley. A change in government may be necessary to find a Minister of that quality.
    I generally agree with D that many of the current Ministers are inadequate for their portfolios. Oddly, I do feel Stockwell Day has performed reasonably in the Public Safety portfolio and should not be included among the inadequate.

  5. Why do you think Harper is so reluctant to draw on some of the experience the party has in the back benches when has people like Dean Allison who would probably be more competent than Flaherty at Finance?

  6. Huh? Why not inflatable suits – fill in the seats. Harper makes ALL the decisions….hmmmm. That should be a clue – Harper is not a good leader. He’s messed up so many files by ordering his feable group on how to act, talk, decide.

    What a flipping mess.

  7. Far from being incompetent, Stockwell Day has actually done a great job in a difficult portfolio and is one of the stars of this Cabinet. He’d make an able Foreign Affairs Minister. Don’t forget he was the opposition critic for foreign affairs.

    I also think that James Rajotte would make an excellent Industry Minister. Now, if only he came from a Quebec riding – or even somewhere in Ontario – he’d be in Cabinet today. If Emerson keeps the Foreign Affiars portfolio look for someone from Quebec to move up to a senior post. The PM still needs to pat attention to geographical balance.

  8. Alas, you’ve convinced me, Mr. Coyne. Consider the kibosh put.

  9. Jamie Rajotte in industry! ha ha ha. Seriously?

    Rajotte has never worked in industry. The only job he has had besides being and MP is exeuctive assistant to his predecessor, Ian McLelland. Harper’s cabinet must be utterly bankrupt of talent to appoint a nooby with zero experience in industry. Rajotte is the very definition of lightweight. We need serious people with experience in these important portfolios.

    C’mon Coyne you must have had your tongue firmly planted in your cheek.

  10. Does the Conservative Party have enough spares to maintain a solvent government while the J.Couillard affairs continue to be exposed? For Ontario’s sake (home of Ottawa btw), whoever takes over the Finance portfolio shouldn’t be such a Cad,man.

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