The line from the Harper government was this a new ministry that will govern for all Canadians – particularly, it seems, those Canadians who voted en masse for the Conservatives for the first time. The Cabinet included new faces from a range of faiths and ethnicities, including Joe Oliver, a Jewish former investment dealer from Toronto, as the new Natural Resources minister; Tim Uppal from Edmonton as the new Minister of State for Democratic Reform; Alice Wong from Richmond as the new Minister of State for Seniors; and Bal Gosal from Bramalea as the new Minister of State for Sport.The "enemy within." Well, we can use all the help we can get.
Such blatant pandering is understandable, given the Tories’ electoral success, but it is unlikely to sit well with the legions of Tory MPs (I counted 86) who have been waiting patiently on the backbenches for their chance to shine. Two pale male veterans – Rob Merrifield and Rob Moore – were demoted to free up room for the new appointments.
As one person with inside knowledge of the Tory caucus put it: “I think the issue is now all the egos sitting on the backbenches. The bitching won’t start until the fall – everyone will be too impressed with their new Blackberries and travel points. But wait for it.”
This may, in part, explain why Mr. Bernier is back in Cabinet. Anyone with leadership ambitions and time on their hands could find fertile ground to sow discontent in the coming years.
Other follow-up notes...
Here's the full list of the shuffle. Many of the "big" names stay where they were.
Tony Clement is the new Minister of Axe, he lands at Treasury Board. Not so surprising.
Kenney stays at Citizenship, Immigration & Multiculturalism. Four more years of curry and likely cultivation of leadership chits!
Van Loan returns to Government House Leader, reprising his former role that he played to limited acclaim.
Ritz stays in Agriculture and the dismantling of the Wheat Board is in high gear.
What else...Joe Oliver, Harvard man, becomes Natural Resources Minister. A file that Christian Paradis bumbled his way through, it may as well be given to a newbie.
Bev Oda undeservedly stays in International Cooperation. Landslide Raitt stays in Labour. Rona keeps Status of Women as a part time hobby. Aglukkaq stays in Health. Finley stays at HR. That's essentially the female face of the Harper government effort.
Moore stays in Heritage. Kent stays in Environment, zzzzzzz. Nicholson stays in Justice to oversee the coming omnibus crime bill extravaganza.
Fantino becomes Associate Minister of
Ladies and gentlemen, it's your Harper Majority Cabinet™2011. Enjoy!