Who seems to be up, who seems to be down - Macleans.ca

Who seems to be up, who seems to be down


Conventional perception seems to have Stockwell Day, Christian Paradis and Rona Ambrose rising, Lisa Raitt and Peter Van Loan falling. Keith Ashfield gets a promotion to cabinet, Rob Moore gets to call himself a minister of state.

Early reviews from the Canadian Press, Globe, Star, Canwest, Reuters, BloombergCBC and CTV.


Who seems to be up, who seems to be down

  1. I'm disheartened to learn that Peter Van Loan will be tasked with promoting Canada's trade and investment overseas (the man is slovenly, uncouth and boorish). This has nothing to do with partisanship, he is obviously a terrible choice for the job.

    • Of course this has nothing to do with partisanship, and everything to do with your civil, thoughtful, and penetrating analysis of the man's qualifications for the job.

      • Boorishness may work in a Transport Minister (Baird has performed okay), or House Leader (PVL, Goodale), but it is not a good fit in a diplomatic role designed to promote Canada abroad. I've had the "pleasure" of sharing a room with him on a few occasions, he was not even civil with his own Cabinet colleagues, much less diplomatic, and he comported himself without dignity or respect for himself, his office, or anyone else in the room. I was pleasantly surprised and consistently impressed by Minister Day's performance on the Trade file, I do not expect the same from PVL. Your defence of his qualifications would be…?

        • I'm sorry, but according to your personalized characterization, the man doesn't even appear to be a qualified member of civilization.

          I've never met the man, but I've known of him ever since, as a member of the PC Party, he worked hard to bring all conservatives under one big tent. And, during that time, he was a very articulate, thoughtful, and diplomatic spokesperson for the cause. Hardly the Homer Simpson you make him out to be.

          Who knows? Maybe this new job will bring out some of those qualities in him again.

          I'm not necessarily a fan. But I just find it ironic that you seem to be engaging in exactly the kind of uncouth behaviour which you tar Van Loan with. Surely, there could have been far more diplomatic and less personalized ways for you to make such a point, especially given the point you were trying to make.

  2. I'm disheartened to learn that Peter Van Loan will be tasked with promoting Canada's trade and investment overseas (the man is slovenly uncouth and boorish). This comment is not about partisanship, he is obviously a terrible choice for the job of International Trade Minister.

    • I don't know. Europeans think we colonials are slovenly, uncouth & boorish, & Asians think everyone else is uncultured. No point rocking the boat.

  3. So if Peter van Loan got demoted in shifting from Public Safety to Trade, does that mean Stockwell was demoted when he made the exact same portfolio shift in 2008? And does all this mean that in going from Stock's new post to his old PS post that Vic Toews is demoted?

    The optics of promotion and demotion are funny. Or deathly serious, as the pundits attest.

    • no kidding, it was the same when Minister Baird was "demoted" from Environment (a file the Government was deliberately 'de-prioritizing') to Transport Infrastructure and Communities with responsibility for top government priorities backed by tens of billions of dollars including the Gateways Strategies, the Building Canada Plan and the Infrastructure Stimulus measures… Sheesh!

  4. I'm disheartened to learn that the Treasury will be left to a man who doesn't hold a degree and only brings political experience, including being a member of a separatist party, to the job at a time when we have to fight a deficit. The last time we had to fight a deficit we relied on a man who held diplomas from Université de Montréal, McGill, Warsaw and Oxford and with two decades of experience – with the World Bank, as Deputy Minister of Finance for the Government of New Brunswick, Deputy Secretary to the Cabinet (Operations), Clerk of the Privy Council under Joe Clark, and more BEFORE entering politics in 1993. When he left in 1999, spending was down 26% and Canada no longer had a deficit. This parliament is full of politicailleux – and this is not a partisan comment.

  5. You say that this is not a partisan comment, but I'm scratching my head over the claim that Stockwell Day was a member of a "separatist party". Maybe you can fill us in on that one.

  6. would you have preferred that I said "Canada's International Trade Minister should be a person of grace, class, and charm, and in my experience Peter Van Loan does not demonstrate any of these characteristics"? Personal suitability is an important part of qualifying for a job, and the personal characteristics that I commented on pertain directly to the job in question. I do not believe calling someone uncouth and a poor fit for a job on a comment board is uncouth behaviour; doing so at a state dinner or international function, perhaps, but here? no. And I do not compare him to Homer Simpson — who loveable as he is, is profoundly stupid, see the definition of "pulling a homer" from early in the series — PVL is an intelligent, and highly calculating man (at the very least on a tactical level, if not a strategic one) who has been quite successful (rue that though I may) because of, rather than in spite of, his talents and efforts.

  7. He was a member of the Western Canada Concept. And according to wiki, The Western Canada Concept was a Western Canadian political party founded in 1980 to promote the separation of the provinces of Manitoba, Saskatchewan, Alberta and British Columbia and the Yukon and Northwest Territories from Canada in order to create a new nation.

    He's not the only member of the Harper cabinet to have been a separatist – maybe some of them are, I don't know. Nobody's asking them – I guess because they're not French.

  8. OK, you think it's perfectly alright to attack a man personally, without him being here to defend himself, and then consider yourself some sort of expert on diplomacy. lol Gotchya.

  9. Well, according to Wikipedia and other sources, it was his father who was a member of that group. So, in a thread where you're praising the need for competence on the job, you can't even get basic facts correct. Fascinating.

  10. Indeed – it was Diane Ablonczy who was with the WCC. I suppose she no longer is a separatist.

    By the way Dennis, I realise that a lot of people write on political blogs as a professional occupation. It is not my job and I don't feel I need any competence to comment on politics. It is a simple exercise of freedom of expression – and that implies that I can be wrong. Thanks for correcting me.

    The fact remains that Day doesn't have a degree and nothing but political experience to bring to the job.

    Our political parties, Liberal and Conservative alike, are failing at getting competent and experienced people, like Marcel Massé, to the House of Commons.

  11. must one be as good as an NHLer to discuss the relative merits of players? Can I not say that Chris Neil (who I love having on my team) is too boorish and undisciplined to play on the top line? Or by your standards, can I only comment on what makes a good first line player if I myself am good enough to play on the top line? If so, I would love to see you put in charge of the sports networks so you could fire all of the hack colour commentators! (fully sincere).

    I'm not competing for a top diplomatic job, so the standard of measurement is not the same for my diplomatic skills as it would be for someone who is competing for a top diplomatic job. I do consider myself to be in a reasonable position to judge the candidates' relative merits, and I do not feel it is a personal attack to say that one candidate does not have the personal suitability for the job in question.

    PS PVL has a berry and can show up here to defend himself anytime he wants to.

  12. Well, I think it says everything about your credibility. You say you're not partisan, yet here you are making unfounded allegations against people with whom you seem to agree.

    Stockwell Day was a finance minister for the country's richest province. He's led a federal political party. He's also been a well-praised minister responsible for some important federal portfolios.

    The idea that this man has no credentials for his current job, based on an attack that was made of him by partisans long ago, is stretching it. Don't you think?

    I also find it ironic that someone who seems to praise the value of educations and credentials can't even get basic facts straight. That's all.

  13. I think it would give you more credibility on the topic of diplomacy if you were capable of it yourself. Instead, you feel no hesitation to engage in crude personal attacks when it suits you.

    For the record, I think there are many ways you could have made your point more diplomatically. Again, that you don't know how, or are just unwilling, just weakens your position, imo.

  14. My point is not meant as a partisan observation: Liberals and Conservatives alike, are not bringing in people into parliament who have the credentials and experience that would best serve the country.

    Unlike Monsieur Massé, Day did not bring education about, or concrete experience of, public administration into politics. Day's experience and credentials for this and other portfolios are entirely political.

  15. By that logic, any politician without a history of working in the bureaucracy lacks the necessary credentials, which seems rather narrow, and absurd.

    So, Stockwell Day's experience of running a finance ministry, a national federal party, and other federal portfolios means he doesn't have the necessary credentials? Whatever.

  16. I just had to add my two cents: While for some, appearances are critical because they play a disproportionately critical role in substantiating their position…for many people this would be considered shallow and suspect. Surely substance is far more important than a well decorated veneer. Contrary to McC, and speaking as a non-partisan, I have found Peter Van Loan to be an astute, well read and versatile man. While he may not be well suited for the front page of GQ, that is not his career chooice either. What strikes me is that Harper chooses men and women according to their skills and interests AND according to how he is prioritizing his political challenges.PVL is actually extremely adept at handling his constituents, he is personable and kind. Superficial and mean spirited petty remarks that deride a person because of his appearance is not the level of sophisitcation that a citizen of this country would expect from individuals who wish to be taken seriously. If this is a refelection of a liberal campaign to discredit PVL then PVL doesn’t need to lose sleep. Furthermore, if this is the best that McC can come up with then I guess that implies that PVL isn’t doing too badly, right?

    • Remix: Mr. Dion is actually extremely adept at handling his constituents, he is personable and kind. Superficial and mean spirited petty remarks that deride a person because of his accent are not the level of sophistication that a citizen of this country would expect from individuals who wish to be taken seriously.