After much anticipation, Prime Minister Stephen Harper unveiled his new cabinet this morning at Rideau Hall. The changes were substantial, as the Prime Minister added eight new faces to the Cabinet, including four new women; while shifting many Ministers to new portfolios. Reflecting his focus on economic stability and fiscal stewardship, the Prime Minister maintained his core group of key economic advisors.
Changing a cabinet, as one observer once quipped, is more like dominoes then chess. The Prime Minister as with previous Prime Ministers’ is hoping these mid-term changes will help reinvigorate his government and take the electorate’s attention off recent scandals. The governing Conservatives have suffered a drop in the polls over the past year. The Prime Minister is hoping that the Cabinet shuffle, followed by a Speech from the Throne in the fall, and the Conservative Party policy convention will all combine to put forth a new face on the government and lead to a third term election victory.
With one exception, the Ministerial portfolios relating to the economy remained untouched. This reflected the fact that managing the economy is still perceived as one of the Government’s strengths. Jim Flaherty, who has been struggling with illness, retained his position as Finance Minister; a post that he has held since the Conservatives took office in 2006. Treasury Board President, Tony Clement, and International Trade Minister, Ed Fast, both retained their portfolios as well. Leaving Ed Fast as trade Minister is seen as an indication of the Prime Minister’s desire to complete a trade agreement with the European Union in the next few months.
The one major change involving an economic portfolio was the move (some would call promotion) of James Moore from Canadian Heritage to Industry. Industry is a very diverse ministry now facing key issues, including the clarification of foreign investment rules.
John Baird will be staying on as Foreign Affairs Minister. However, Peter MacKay moved from Defence into the role of Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada. Rob Nicholson (formerly the Attorney General) moved into National Defence to replace him.
Jason Kenney switched from Citizenship and Immigration to become the Minister of Employment and Social Development.
As expected, Chris Alexander, a former Ambassador, received a major promotion from Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of National Defence, to replace Minister Kenney as Minister of Citizenship and Immigration.
Steven Blaney has replaced former Minister of Public Safety, Vic Toews, who announced his retirement ahead of the shuffle last week. Minister Toews was first elected in 2000 and held key positions in the Conservative government, including Minister of Justice from 2006-07, Treasury Board from 2007-10, and most recently, Public Safety.
Former Fisheries Minister Keith Ashfield asked to be relieved of his cabinet position due to ill health. Gail Shea is the new Fisheries and Oceans Minister. Leona Aglukkaq, the former Health Minister, now has three portfolios as Minister of the Environment, Minister of the Canadian Northern Economic Development Agency, and Minister for the Arctic Council. Rona Ambrose has moved to Health. Lisa Raitt is now the Minister of Transport. Diane Finley is now the Minister of Public Works and Government Services. Bernard Valcourt is now Minister of Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development.
BELOW IS A COMPLETE LIST OF THE NEW CABINET:
The Right Honourable Stephen Joseph Harper Prime Minister of Canada
The Honourable Bernard Valcourt Minister of Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development
The Honourable Robert Douglas Nicholson Minister of National Defence
The Honourable Peter Gordon MacKay Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada
The Honourable Rona Ambrose Minister of Health
The Honourable Diane Finley Minister of Public Works and Government Services
The Honourable John Baird Minister of Foreign Affairs
The Honourable Tony Clement President of the Treasury Board
The Honourable James Michael Flaherty Minister of Finance
The Honourable Peter Van Loan Leader of the Government in the House of Commons
The Honourable Jason Kenney Minister of Employment and Social Development
The Honourable Gerry Ritz Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food
The Honourable Christian Paradis Minister of International Development and Minister for La Francophonie
The Honourable James Moore Minister of Industry
The Honourable Denis Lebel Minister of Infrastructure, Communities and Intergovernmental Affairs and Minister of the Economic Development Agency of Canada for the Regions of Quebec
The Honourable Leona Aglukkaq Minister of the Environment, Minister of the Canadian Northern Economic Development Agency and Minister for the Arctic Council
The Honourable Lisa Raitt Minister of Transport
The Honourable Gail Shea Minister of Fisheries and Oceans
The Honourable Julian Fantino Minister of Veterans Affairs
The Honourable Steven Blaney Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness
The Honourable Edward Fast Minister of International Trade
The Honourable Joe Oliver Minister of Natural Resources
The Honourable Kerry-Lynne D. Findlay Minister of National Revenue
The Honourable Shelly Glover Minister of Canadian Heritage and Official Languages
The Honourable Chris Alexander Minister of Citizenship and Immigration
The Honourable Kellie Leitch Minister of Labour and Minister of Status of Women
The Honourable Maxime Bernier Minister of State (Small Business and Tourism, and Agriculture)
The Honourable Lynne Yelich Minister of State (Foreign Affairs and Consular)
The Honourable Gary Goodyear Minister of State (Federal Economic Development Agency for Southern Ontario)
The Honourable Rob Moore Minister of State (Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency)
The Honourable John Duncan Minister of State and Chief Government Whip
The Honourable Tim Uppal Minister of State (Multiculturalism)
The Honourable Alice Wong Minister of State (Seniors)
The Honourable Bal Gosal Minister of State (Sport)
The Honourable Kevin Sorenson Minister of State (Finance)
The Honourable Pierre Poilievre Minister of State (Democratic Reform)
The Honourable Candice Bergen Minister of State (Social Development)
The Honourable Greg Rickford Minister of State (Science and Technology, and Federal Economic Development Initiative for Northern Ontario)
The Honourable Michelle Rempel Minister of State (Western Economic Diversification)