Cabinet shuffle imminent: parliamentary insider

Harper may be picking team for spring election

Prime Minister Stephen Harper will shuffle his cabinet before parliament returns on January 31st, an insider told the Canadian Press. The insider says the minor shuffle will involve six or fewer ministers and will almost certainly fill the seat left empty when Jim Prentice quit the environment file last month. Although Harper has vowed not to call or provoke an election, the shuffle would provide an opportunity for the Conservatives to strengthen their team before an opposition-triggered election, which many observers predict. Tory strategists say Liberal leader Michael Ignatieff has hinted that he will pull the plug on the government by voting against the budget in February or March. Strategists will be watching to see if Harper makes Julian Fantino a minister. The former head of the Ontario Provincial Police pried the suburban Toronto riding of Vaughan from the Liberals last month in a close by-election.

Winnipeg Free Press

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