14 August 2007

Do the Cabinet Shuffle

Something to break the summer doldrums in Canada's political scene.

The big moves from my personal interest POV:

Mackay to Defence - it's good that he is staying in a role with an international dimension. Though he didn't do the greatest job of publicly selling the mission in Afghanistan, I know that Mackay understands the importance of the mission and that Canada's participation can help tip the balance in favour of success in rebuilding and reconstructing that country. I actually just received some correspondence from the former Minister of Foreign Affairs in the mail today, and it's clear to me that he's on top of it. His new role at Defence puts him in a different position regarding Afghanistan, and I'm confident that he'll handle the position well.

Bernier to Foreign Affairs - I know that he's one of Harper's stars in Quebec. That's about all I know about Maxime. In some circles, it's seen as important to put a Quebec face on the most critical mission Canada faces diplomatically and militarily overseas. That's optical politics for you. Perhaps my "fellow traveller" Chuckercanuck can illuminate all of us on what we can expect from Bernier in this position.

Oda to CIDA - this one is a head-scratcher. She presided poorly over Heritage and Status of Women Canada. CIDA is the third pillar of Canada's involvement in Afghanistan, so this is a promotion of sorts for Oda. My great concern is that someone who doesn't go to bat for women's rights in Canada won't do so strongly for the rights of women in Afghanistan. I hope to be proven wrong, but I'm very skeptical.

The other Cabinet shifts don't amount to much to me. It's putting new faces in new places, but seeing as most Canadians, myself included, can't identify many of these ministers in a police line-up, it's little more than some cosmetic work to freshen things up and get ministers more experience in different portfolios.


900 ft Jesus said...

Prentice to Industry is odd. Not everyone liked him for INAC, but by Harper standards, he managed the portfolio well - no scandals, firm grip. He is replaced by Strahl who is not at all sympathetic to First Nations and has not background in Native Affairs, that I know of.

So why Prentice for Industry? Harper likes to place his best in key portfolios, ones he is expecting to become, or are, high profile. I'm watching this one, I think something is up

RGM said...

I think that the closest Strahl comes is that he's from B.C., where there has never been any shortage of disputes between First Nations and the government. As for Prentice, who knows, this is probably just one of those "rounding" moves to get him more experience in Cabinet and build up the resume?

Unfortunately for me and my ability to provide commentary, I don't really know a lot of the Conservative folks as well as I do many of the Liberals. I guess I've got my past partisan history to thank/blame/whatever for that. It doesn't really help matters that Harper keeps such short leashes on just about everybody, either.