Prime Minister Stephen Harper says making Parliament work is essential if Canada is to avoid an unnecessary election that would jeopardize our economic recovery.
“The economy remains the number one priority of Canadians and of our Government,” said the Prime Minister. “An unnecessary election is the last thing that Canadians need, that the economy needs, at this time.”
To advance the objective of making Parliament work, the Prime Minister today announced the appointment of one of his most experienced, senior Ministers to the position of Leader of the Government in the House of Commons. The Honourable John Baird has a mandate to work cooperatively with the other parties and make Parliament function.
“Canadians need Parliament to work so that Canada's Economic Action Plan is not interrupted," said the Prime Minister. “We want to do our part and to work cooperatively with all opposition parties to put the economy first.”
This crucial role is the latest of many in which Minister Baird has served with distinction. He secured passage of the landmark Federal Accountability Act, served as Minister of the Environment, and most recently, oversaw the implementation of infrastructure stimulus, a vital part of Canada’s Economic Action Plan.
Others changes made as part of today's fine-tuning of the Cabinet are as follows:
- The Honourable Chuck Strahl succeeds Mr. Baird as Minister of Transport, Infrastructure and Communities.
- The Honourable John Duncan, of British Columbia, enters the Cabinet by succeeding Mr. Strahl as Minister of Indian Affairs and Northern Development, Federal Interlocutor for Métis and Non-Status Indians and Minister of the Canadian Northern Economic Development Agency.
“Minister Strahl will take on his new responsibilities with the same dedication and hard work that he's shown in his previous portfolios,” said the Prime Minister. His immediate priority is the ongoing implementation of the infrastructure stimulus component of Canada’s Economic Action Plan.
In announcing the appointment of the newest member of his Cabinet, the Prime Minister noted that “John Duncan’s solid work as Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Indian Affairs and Northern Development makes him a natural choice for this important role, allowing him to continue to build on the important work that Chuck Strahl and our Government have done in this area.”
The Prime Minister paid tribute to the former Government House Leader, the Honourable Jay Hill. Earlier this summer Mr. Hill announced that he will not stand as a candidate at the next general election following 17 years of elected service to his constituents and Canadians.
Mr. Baird was recently named “Parliamentarian of the Year,” an award decided by votes of MPs and Senators from all parties.