After much anticipation, Prime Minister Stephen Harper unveiled his new cabinet this morning at Rideau Hall. The changes were substantial, as the Prime Minister added eight new faces to the Cabinet, including four new women; while shifting many Ministers to new portfolios. Reflecting his focus on economic stability and fiscal stewardship, the Prime Minister maintained his core group of key economic advisors.

Changing a cabinet, as one observer once quipped, is more like dominoes then chess. The Prime Minister as with previous Prime Ministers’ is hoping these mid-term changes will help reinvigorate his government and take the electorate’s attention off recent scandals. The governing Conservatives have suffered a drop in the polls over the past year. The Prime Minister is hoping that the Cabinet shuffle, followed by a Speech from the Throne in the fall, and the Conservative Party policy convention  will all combine to put forth a new face on the government and lead to a third term election victory.

Economic Portfolios

With one exception, the Ministerial portfolios relating to the economy remained untouched. This reflected the fact that managing the economy is still perceived as one of the Government’s strengths. Jim Flaherty, who has been struggling with illness, retained his position as Finance Minister; a post that he has held since the Conservatives took office in 2006. Treasury Board President, Tony Clement, and International Trade Minister, Ed Fast, both retained their portfolios as well. Leaving Ed Fast as trade Minister is seen as an indication of the Prime Minister’s desire to complete a trade agreement with the European Union in the next few months.

The one major change involving an economic portfolio was the move (some would call promotion) of James Moore from Canadian Heritage to Industry. Industry is a very diverse ministry now facing key issues, including the clarification of foreign investment rules.

John Baird will be staying on as Foreign Affairs Minister. However, Peter MacKay moved from Defence into the role of Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada. Rob Nicholson (formerly the Attorney General) moved into National Defence to replace him.

Jason Kenney switched from Citizenship and Immigration to become the Minister of Employment and Social Development.

As expected, Chris Alexander, a former Ambassador, received a major promotion from Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of National Defence, to replace Minister Kenney as Minister of Citizenship  and  Immigration.

Steven Blaney has replaced former Minister of Public Safety, Vic Toews, who announced his retirement ahead of the shuffle last week. Minister Toews was first elected in 2000 and held key positions in the Conservative government, including Minister of Justice from 2006-07, Treasury Board from 2007-10, and most recently, Public Safety.

Former Fisheries Minister Keith Ashfield asked to be relieved of his cabinet position due to ill health. Gail Shea is the new Fisheries and Oceans Minister. Leona Aglukkaq, the former Health Minister, now has three portfolios as Minister of the Environment, Minister of the Canadian Northern Economic Development Agency, and Minister for the Arctic Council. Rona Ambrose has moved to Health. Lisa Raitt is now the Minister of Transport. Diane Finley is now the Minister of Public Works and Government Services. Bernard Valcourt is now Minister of Aboriginal Affairs and Northern  Development.

Below is a Complete List of the New Cabinet:

  • The Right Honourable Stephen Joseph Harper
    Prime Minister of Canada
  • The Honourable Bernard Valcourt
    Minister of Aboriginal Affairs and Northern  Development
  • The Honourable Robert Douglas Nicholson
    Minister of National Defence
  • The Honourable Peter Gordon MacKay
    Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada
  • The Honourable Rona Ambrose
    Minister of Health
  • The Honourable Diane Finley
    Minister of Public Works and Government Services
  • The Honourable John Baird
    Minister of Foreign Affairs
  • The Honourable Tony Clement
    President of the Treasury Board
  • The Honourable James Michael Flaherty
    Minister of Finance
  • The Honourable Peter Van Loan
    Leader of the Government in the House of Commons
  • The Honourable Jason Kenney
    Minister of Employment and Social Development
  • The Honourable Gerry Ritz
    Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food
  • The Honourable Christian Paradis
    Minister of International Development and Minister for La Francophonie
  • The Honourable James Moore
    Minister of Industry
  • The Honourable Denis Lebel
    Minister of Infrastructure, Communities and Intergovernmental Affairs and Minister of the Economic Development Agency of Canada for the Regions of Québec
  • The Honourable Leona Aglukkaq
    Minister of the Environment, Minister of the Canadian Northern Economic Development Agency and Minister for the Arctic Council
  • The Honourable Lisa Raitt
    Minister of Transport
  • The Honourable Gail Shea
    Minister of Fisheries and Oceans
  • The Honourable Julian Fantino
    Minister of Veterans Affairs
  • The Honourable Steven Blaney
    Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness
  • The Honourable Edward Fast
    Minister of International Trade
  • The Honourable Joe Oliver
    Minister of Natural Resources
  • The Honourable Kerry-Lynne D. Findlay
    Minister of National Revenue
  • The Honourable Shelly Glover
    Minister of Canadian Heritage and Official Languages
  • The Honourable Chris Alexander
    Minister of Citizenship and Immigration
  • The Honourable Kellie Leitch
    Minister of Labour and Minister of Status of Women
  • The Honourable Maxime Bernier
    Minister of State (Small Business and Tourism, and  Agriculture)
  • The Honourable Lynne Yelich
    Minister of State (Foreign Affairs and Consular)
  • The Honourable Gary Goodyear
    Minister of State (Federal Economic Development Agency for Southern Ontario)
  • The Honourable Rob Moore
    Minister of State (Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency)
  • The Honourable John Duncan
    Minister of State and Chief Government Whip
  • The Honourable Tim Uppal  
    Minister  of  State  (Multiculturalism)
  • The Honourable Alice Wong
    Minister of State (Seniors)
  • The Honourable Bal Gosal
    Minister of State (Sport)
  • The Honourable Kevin Sorenson
    Minister of State (Finance)
  • The Honourable Pierre Poilievre
    Minister of State (Democratic Reform)
  • The Honourable Candice Bergen
    Minister of State (Social Development)
  • The Honourable Greg Rickford
    Minister of State (Science and Technology, and Federal Economic Development Initiative for Northern Ontario)
  • The Honourable Michelle Rempel
    Minister of State (Western Economic Diversification)

For further information please contact Gar Knutson at 613.787.3729 or gknutson@blg.com.

Author

Gar Knutson P.C.
GKnutson@blg.com
613.787.3729

Expertise

Municipal Law and Other Government
Public Policy and Government Relations