Monday, January 8, 2007

Cabinet Shuffle

As you already know, there was a somewhat major cabinet shuffle on January 4th. As I am quite busy today, I will just write a little bit about some of the highlights.

1. Rona Ambrose
As was expected by everyone who pays attention to this kind of stuff, Ambrose
was booted out of the environment portfolio. I was even thinking she might have been kicked out of cabinet altogether (I think that if it was not for the fact that she is a women, she probably would have been). But she was moved over to intergovernmental affairs, which is probably something that—unless some big catastrophic thing happens—she could handle. She's also the new Minister of Western Economic Development, taking the portfolio from Saskatoon Rosetown Biggar's Carol Skelton (Saskatchewan's only federal minister), who is still the Minister of Revenue.

2. John Baird
He, of course, was moved from President of the Treasury Board to the environment portfolio to replace Ambrose. One of the reasons that has been floating about why Baird was moved out of his previous position (which, by Conservative standards, he did quite well) is because his riding (Ottawa West—Nepean) has a lot of civil servants, and I guess John ticked them off with his spending cuts, so Harper is trying to put a nice, new, environmental face on him.

I have also found a good article entitled John Baird cannot be trusted by Mike on Rational Reasons. It talks about how our new environment minister, when he was President of the Treasury Board, denied funding for an improved rapid transit system in Ottawa (where is own riding is) even when the Departments of Transportation and Infrastructure, Finance, the Treasury Board Secretariat and Baird's own "professional staff" said that is was "well justified". It is a very good read.

3. Gordon O'Connor
Some analysts thought that O'Connor might be 'shuffled-out' of Defense with his somewhat 'ruff-and-tough' approach to things, such as the banning media presence at soldier's funerals and stopping the tradition of lowering Parliament's flag to honor our fallen soldiers. The main controversy surrounding is appointment to defense was that he was a lobbyist for several major defense industry companies. Personally, O'Connor reminds me of Donald Rumsfeld (former Secretary of Defense, USA).

4. Tony Clement
While no one really expected him to be tossed from Health, that wouldn't have been the worst idea. He really hasn't made Canada's health system better. He hasn't appear much in the news, probably because he hasn't really done anything to ruin medicare or exalt it. While his profile would be acceptable in the U.S., where there is very little government involvement in health (especially federally), it is not in Canada, where our whole system revolves around the government and government funding. Finally, his appointment controversy. Clement has a 25% stake in Prudential Chem Inc., a Canadian drug company. He says that he'd love to sell his shares, but they are not tradable on the TSX, and has not yet found a buyer. Okay, we can give him some credit for that, but why would he be appointed Health Minister of all things?


Ray said...

Baird as Environment Minister, another environment slip-up by Harper. The opposition really should bring out the Clement thing more often.

Anonymous said...

Bring out what "Clement thing". Try some research prior to blogging or making comment. Very weak and factually incorrect.

Alex said...

I think what Ray meant by the "Clement thing" was his (Tony Clement) 25% share in a pharmaceutical company. The problem is quite obvious: He is a health minister, and he has a personal, financial interest in a corporation dealing with health. That is not at all accountable. While he is not the worst minister Harper has, he should at least be put to another portfolio.

Kent, I am not sure what you mean by "factually incorrect". What other evidence do you what? You would have seen the evidence if you clicked on the link 25% stake. This was reported by the Ottawa Citizen, and it wasn't even a leak; Clement said it himself.