A New Year and a New Cabinet
Prime Minister Stephen Harper gave some late Christmas presents to a few of his loyal MPs. Harper had to give his cabinet a slight shuffle following the resignation of Jim Prentice, who was well qualified in the environment portfolio. We all know that the environment has never been one of Harper’s strong points, but Prentice was well respected in that job. Thus, Harper’s choice for a replacement is indicative of how he wishes the ministry to be handled going forward. So, all of the anticipation was put to rest when Harper chose Thornhill MP Peter Kent… huh?
The name was quite familiar to me, so I put google to work and found that Kent was a broadcaster for Global News before being elected in 2008. I honestly had no idea he had transitioned into politics, so this was a head scratcher for me. But upon further examination, there is logic behind the selection, and Harper (not so secretly) is pandering to Ontario voters as an election seems ever more immanent. Kent no doubt has the skills to be an effective communicator. The question is, does he have the knowledge to be effective as environment minister? I am skeptical. But then again, how much does any minister really know? They get shuffled around all the time, with no real concern for their skills. This decision is clearly all about the GTA voters and showing how friendly the Conservatives can be for them.
Harper cemented this further with his selection of Julian Fantino as minister of state for seniors. Obviously this is not a high profile post, but seriously… Fantino has been an MP for all of 15 minutes. But once again, Fantino is a high profile Ontario MP, who can send some love to the Conservatives come election time (or at least that’s the hope). Also included in the shuffle were Alberta MP’s Diane Ablonczy and Ted Menzies. Both are longtime party faithfuls whose inclusion is likely a small token of appreciation from the Prime Minister. Ablonczy was given minister of state of foreign affairs for the Americas and Menzies is the new minister of state for finance.
So what significance does this shuffle have? Not much. While the choice of Kent and Fantino is somewhat surprising, the reasoning behind it is not and just goes to show the era of the permanent campaign is still with us.
On an unrelated note, Happy New Year to everyone. I hope the Holidays were good to all. Please don’t hesitate to leave any feedback about this and any other posts. It is always appreciated.