Tuesday, January 04, 2011

And an anchorman shall be environment minister

So it's Peter Kent who gets the lucky promotion/drew the short straw to Harper Environment Minister! In which he will have to navigate the perilous "harmonization" front thingy we've supposedly got going with the U.S. And in which he will be navigating that Northern Gateway pipeline issue as well. This line from Canadian Press seems to capture the upshot of Kent's appointment handily enough:
Kent's elevation to environment fulfills a need for a solid spokesman in a portfolio where the minister is constantly under attack for the government's perceived lack of action on the file.
Yes, more of the jaw-jaw environmental philosophy above all else. The talk of James Moore to that portfolio seems to have been just that, besides, he's rocking mall patrol warning of the dangers of the non-existent iPod Tax, why mess with that?

The other semi-interesting development of the day, Julian Fantino becomes Minister of State for Seniors. Depending on how closely he can stick to a script and how closeted they keep him, this could be a big mistake. There is nothing in the way of the competences he brings to Ottawa that prepares Fantino for this position. He's a law and order guy and he should have been placed in some position related to that experience. His manner, as displayed in media appearances post-election, is brusque and that doesn't seem to be a good fit for a Seniors cabinet portfolio. It's also being pointed out this afternoon that he's one of a rare elite in the country in terms of his pension situation, earning 3 fully-indexed public pensions, to go along with his MP and now ministerial pay. At a time when we have major pension issues facing the nation, at a time when these Conservatives have a suspect track record in dealing with Seniors' retirement funds, surely a Seniors ministerial role demands someone of high competence, and empathy, for the job. Fantino, as a newbie, doesn't seem to be the right choice to throw into the deep end on that one at all.

Finally, what does it say about Stephen Harper that he totally overlooked appointing a new full-time Status of Women minister? Rona Ambrose does it, in combination with the Public Works ministry.

These are the PM's choices, very insightful.