Thursday, January 04, 2007

News!

Since the Liberal leadership race ended, there hasn't been a lot of political news to post on and it is nice to get a break from year end lists and Cabinet shuffle speculation to talk about...the Cabinet shuffle. Here's the scorecard:

* John Baird - Environment
* Rona Ambrose - Minister for Intergovernmental Affairs
* Rob Nicholson - Justice
* Vic Toews - President of the Treasury Board
* Monte Solberg - Minister for Human Resources and Social Development
* Dianne Finley - Minister for Citizenship and Immigration
* Peter Van Loan - House leader
* Jason Kenney - Secretary of State for Multiculturalism and Canadian Identity
* Gerry Ritz - Secretary of State for Small Business and Tourism
* Helena Guergis - Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs and Sport
* Christian Paradis - Secretary of State for Agriculture

The bottom four spots on that list seem to be the usual ballooning of the Cabinet we get before elections and represent four MPs who are likely being groomed for larger portfolios after the next election (should the Tories win). Paradis and Guergis are in vulnerable seats so this probably helps their re-election bids as well. If you take those four spots as young MPs being groomed for future Cabinet positions then, boy, does it ever suck to be James Moore this morning. Diane Ablonczy has also got to be feeling a bit jilted that another Calgary MP got a Cabinet spot before she did.

So that brings us to the shuffle part of this Cabinet shuffle. And it's really a mulligan for Harper. Rona Ambrose's expertise made her a logical choice for Intergovernmental Affairs back in February so that's what she gets now. Not that it really matters since it appears that Harper's Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs has fewer responsibilities than his chauffeur. Vic Toews was also a brutal choice for Justice but now that the messy Same Sex vote is beyond him, Harper has moved in a much more competent and moderate man to the portfolio. As for Baird...well, good luck - he'll need it. I'm really not sure what to make of the Solberg/Finley moves and I suspect they'll get overshadowed quite a bit; I'd be curious to hear any theories on those ones.

So, all in all, Harper made the right moves on this shuffle (although Kenney to multiculturalism is certainly odd, to put it mildly). But given the PMO control over his Ministers, I doubt it will really change the focus of this government dramatically.

19 Comments:

  • Yes. John Baird.

    I'm sure he's smarter than he looks ... but then again, he'd have to be.

    Isn't he the guy that so vehemently denied that global warming was occurring and mocked the issue of greenhouse gases?

    Paul Wells has some suggestions.

    "If I were a producer at Radio-Canada, I'd be inviting John Baird onto tonight's Téléjournal. And, the weather being balmy, I'd insist that the interview take place outdoors."

    By Blogger Down & Out in L A, at 1:53 PM  

  • Human Resources is where the Liberals are gonna try and paint the Tories as heartless

    Eye problems or not, it simply did not look good for the minister cutting the programs wearing sunglasses in the House.

    Also Monte is a competent guy.

    My theory...it's the sunglasses.

    By Blogger Antonio, at 2:03 PM  

  • "To put it mildly" - that's putting it mildly! I feel like grabbing popcorn and turning on CPAC. John Baird and Jason Kenney?? This is going to be a great session! It's like Christmas Eve for my twisted sense of humour!

    But boy, I'd be pissed if I was Diane, how that woman can be overlooked again is beyond me. Does she have skeletons that I don't know about? Anyone? She's always come across as pretty competent to me.

    And Rona... I don't like her but I do feel bad for her. She was inexperienced and set up to fail. I really do hope that she does well in her new posting. Maybe that's cause I'm young and female too.

    I know Jay Hill got named but anyone know why he isn't more high profile? I actually grew up in his riding and he's well liked and well respected. Is it cause he blew it that summer as the whip?

    And Monte, you know, after leaving Hill's riding I moved to Monte's, and I think he's a dick! When waitressing to put myself through school I had the pleasure on a couple of occasions of serving him. Not nice to the little people. But maybe I caught him on bad nights. I don't want to start a flame war with anyone, but I just don't get the big deal about him.

    By Blogger Scooge, at 3:07 PM  

  • Poor Peter Van Loan must have whiplash after his solid month or so at Intergovernmental Affairs (counting the previous Liberal Minister, there have been four IA ministers in the last year).

    Baird is one of the more technically capable members of the Cabinet, but he's also an insanely partisan, pompous blowhard of Joe Volpe proportions, which I'm not sure is a good man to put as your frontman to the Canadian public (in Question Period, he'll do fine).

    Harper must really dislike Diane Ablonczy, who still hasn't made the cut, even for a junior ministry. Same with James Moore.

    Nicholson replacing Toews at Justice is a good choice, however (Toews was terrible).

    By Blogger IslandLiberal, at 3:40 PM  

  • One of the most under-reported stories of the new government is how underwhelming a guy as smart as Monte Solberg ended up being in the immigration portfolio.

    Human Resources Bureaucrats are going to be rolling their eyes at the lack of stability...but at least there is some overlap between the two portfolios.

    By Blogger Darrell, at 3:46 PM  

  • On the Finley/Solberg switch my take would be as follows:

    Immigration and HRSDC work hand-and-hand on a lot of files. In fact, almost everything done at Immigration requires something else to be done at HRSDC to complete the process.

    For instance, to immigrate to Canada, you must be deemed qualified to work and your qualifications are determined by HRSDC.

    Moreover, HRSDC is the largest single department in government with a budget of over $30 billion, while Citizenship & Immigration is a minor department at least in terms of funding.

    Monte is strong, Diane was proving to be a weak link in the cabinet. An easy switch between the two considering the similar mandates of the two departments without forcing a steep learning curve on Finley who already had some responsibility for immigration.

    By Blogger nbpolitico, at 4:08 PM  

  • Diane Ablonsczky must have made it known that either she does not want to be a Cabinet minister, or she has agreed to stay on the sidelines until the next election.

    If Diane wanted to be a cabmin, she would be. If nothing else Harper could have resurrected the Sec State of Financial Institutions for her.

    Yes the sunglasses got Finley the boot. How many questions has Finley had to answer in QP? How many Solberg? That will flip now.

    Baird is awesome.

    Kenney may be in multiculturalism right now, but a certain Liberal MP named Khan will be in that spot sooner or later..likely sooner.

    By Blogger JL, at 4:46 PM  

  • What's with the Rob Nicholson love-in? He's anti-abortion, pro-death penalty, and anti-equal marriage. In other words, he's just as bad as Toews.

    By Blogger Uncorrected Proofs, at 4:52 PM  

  • Ambrose was a failure in Question Period and now they will have the skilled political animal Baird to provide daily quotes for the news about the Liberal failures on the environment.

    "Mr. Speaker, the Leader of the Opposition can talk about the environment all he wants, but Canadians know the Liberal record. Exactly when did they promise to clean up the Sydney tar ponds? No wonder the leader of the Green Party is running in Cape Breton blah blah..

    By Blogger nuna d. above, at 4:56 PM  

  • uncorrected proofs, I've seen your same comment a couple times now. Did Rob Nicholson run over your cat?

    Nicholson is a fine MP, an honest man, and a centrist.

    By Blogger JL, at 4:58 PM  

  • Uncorrected proofs, it's certainly true what you say about Nicholson. There is almost no one in the Conservative caucus that isn't true about. Larry Spencer was expelled from the party for his homophobia, but his voting record on gay issues was exactly the same as the leader who expelled him.

    What counts in politics isn't whether or not you're a bigoted neocon. It's whether or not you're an OBSESSED bigoted neocon. People like Vic Toews, Cheryl Gallant, Pat O'Brien and Tom Wappel have proven throughout their careers that they care far more about spewing their hatred of gays and their contempt for women's rights than they do about actually accomplishing anything for their constituents or themselves. They reap what they sow.

    By Blogger Reality Bites, at 6:03 PM  

  • Kenney may be in multiculturalism right now, but a certain Liberal MP named Khan will be in that spot sooner or later..likely sooner.

    So we've pretty much gotten over all our indignation about Stronach, have we?

    By Blogger IslandLiberal, at 6:07 PM  

  • "a certain Liberal MP named Khan will be in that spot sooner or later..likely sooner."

    The Bourque report is linking to Stephan Taylor saying Khan crosses the floor tomorrow, to sit as a back-bencher.

    By Blogger nuna d. above, at 7:04 PM  

  • I like Finley's sunglasses, and I really don't think they cause any problems image-wise.

    I'm not big on John Baird - kind of a surprise to me, personally. But, I'm more than willing to give him a shot - no judgements from me just yet.

    Then again - this government's record on the Environment is not stellar, but it is certainly passing, it is okay. While it could be better, I would never characterize it as "bad". Harper/Ambrose did a poor job overselling it. If Baird is going to be better at PR, I guess it's the smart choice. And, since they'll likely be NDP-deal-cutting, PR would be smart right about very soon.

    I have no illwill towards Ambrose - poor salespitch skills that knocked her out, but besides that skillset, she's been quite successful for less than a year in Environment. She's made a decent contribution, I'd say. I'd do differently, yes - but she's done alright.

    That surprises me about Solberg, Scooge. That's a shame.

    By Blogger Jason Bo Green, at 9:07 PM  

  • Solberg/Finley switch is happening because Solberg managed to fix some issues in Immigration, but HRSDC is still a major fly in the immigration process. I imagine he's been asked to tackle that.

    By Blogger Candace, at 9:14 PM  

  • The interesting question someone should ask is why does Harper think a guy who was convicted of violating the Manitoba Elections Act in 1999 should be first Justice Minister and then, worse, Accountability Minister.

    By Blogger nbpolitico, at 11:19 PM  

  • Andrew Coyne says:

    "That so many of them come from Ontario is of course entirely coincidental."

    The Conservatives want to win seats in Ontario. Alberta is sewn up.

    That is why Ablonczy and James Moore were left out.

    By Blogger Down & Out in L A, at 5:03 PM  

  • Hmmm....Simcoe Grey (Helena Guergis's seat) is vulnerable? Growing up there, I would say she'll get re-elected handily- but it is good to hear people are considering the Libs have a fighting chance. Perhaps I should help the Libs instead of the Greens...

    re: Baird. Somehow, I think that any long-time environmentalist will just laugh. I mean, at least people assumed Rona wished to do things, but was muzzled...with baird, I think most will just assume he symboloizes indifference an PR. Just like the "suppoused GHGs' comment of Steve.

    By Blogger Kyle, at 9:29 PM  

  • This cannot have effect in actual fact, that's what I consider.

    By Anonymous muebles salamanca, at 9:23 AM  

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