03 January 2007

Cabinet Shuffle Imminent

Word has gotten out that the PM has recalled all of his ministers to Ottawa and a Cabinet shuffle will be taking place tomorrow morning. Speculation galore, of course, but what's being said on TV is that nobody will actually be dropped, there will only be some folks being moved around and even a couple new ones being brought in. After operating for his first year with a leaner, meaner Cabinet, Harper seems to be going down the same road as his predecessors by increasing the size of the government.

A dead-certainty is that Rona Ambrose will be relieved of her duties as Environment Minister. Having been given the most difficult file, she's not measured up to the (unreasonable? impossible? unfair?) expectations placed upon her, and has indeed gone in the opposite direction: she slaughtered progressive Canada's favourite sacred cow by being forthright and honest about Canada's ability to meet its Kyoto requirements, and the Clean Air Act impressed nobody in official circles. With the Liberals going green at the moment of convenience (i.e. when they're no longer accountable for Canada's failures), Harper needs a fresh face in this position that has some credibility on the issues pertaining to the file. I think it's safe to say, then, that Stockwell Day will not be taking over for Ambrose.

There's also been some late-night speculation about the political future of Minister of Defence Gordon O'Connor. He's getting a little up there in the years, and hasn't done an effective political sell on what should be a slam-dunk issue regarding Canada's participation in Afghanistan. A mission that embodies almost all aspects of Canadian foreign policy should enjoy far higher than 50/50 support among the public, and it is the duty of the minister to make known the government's position and the steps it is taking. O'Connor, while shoring up support among those of us whose support for Operation Archer and participation under the NATO banner is unquestioned and unflinching, has not expanded that umbrella of support. One rumour has him retiring, and in his place in the next election retired Major-General Lewis Mackenzie would run for his seat, presumably to take over the slot at Defence. I like Mackenzie, he's a straight-shooter and not afraid to go sacred cow-tipping when it comes to failed organizations like the UN, and if he decides to run it would be a positive for the soldiers and the civilians at the DND.

While nothing is known at this point, all will be revealed tomorrow. The changes, they are a-coming. It won't take long to see whether they'll bolster Harper's roster for the next election or if it's merely a bit of keeping the same folks around but giving them new portfolios to muck around with, a la Allan Rock.

In other news, a study done to measure toxicity levels within the blood of some of Canada's politicians reveals that the Liberal participant, MP John Godfrey, has the highest toxificiation within his blood. Make whatever jokes you see fit.

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