After two years of a majority government, Stephen Harper shook up his Cabinet last Monday, making some of the biggest changes since the Conservatives formed government in 2006.
Prime Minister Harper introduced his new cabinet last Monday, adding eight new faces to the government’s inner circle of MPs.
“I think this is a good mixture of some young and promising talent we have in our caucus and some experienced hands,” Harper said following the swearing in ceremony.
With the newly shuffled Cabinet, eight new ministers moved from the back bench into ministerial positions – four of those being women. Shelly Glover was appointed Minister for Canadian Heritage, Kellie Leitch became Minister of Labour and Statues of Women, Michelle Rempel is the new Minister for Western Diversification and Candice Bergen the Minister of State for Social Development. This bumps the number of women in Harper’s cabinet to 12.
Along with adding new ministers to the cabinet, Harper also shuffled many of the remaining minis.
Peter Mackay and Rob Nicholson swapped positions, moving Nicholson into the Defense department. Mackay is now the minister of Justice and Attorney General. Mackay was expected to be moved out of the Defense position after he and the department were under scrutiny over the cost of the F-35 fighter jets.
Other notable switches in the cabinet include James Moore, MP for Port Moody—Westwood—Port Coquitlam, being promoted to Minister of Industry. He takes over for Christian Paradise who was demoted to Minister of International Development and Minister for La Francophonie. Paradise was criticized for his ethics in 2012 over a Quebec arena.
Leona Aglukkaq became the Minister of Environment, leaving Peter Kent without a ministerial post. Many Canadians were not happy with Kent after Canada withdrew from the Kyoto Protocol. The Protocol reduces international greenhouse emissions. Rona Ambrose took over Aglukkaq’s old pos’t as Health Minister.
Vic Toews resigned from his position ahead of the shuffle as Minister for Public Safety as well as MP; he was replaced by Steve Blaney, former Veterans Affairs Minister.
B.C. MP for Delta-Richmond East, Kerry-Lynne Findlay, was given a big promotion, she went from Associate Minister of National Defence to the Minister of National Revenue. There are now five cabinet posts occupied by B.C. MPs.
Some of Harper’s ministers were not shuffled: John Baird remains the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Jim Flaherty as the Finance Minister, Tony Clement stays as President of the Treasury Board and Joe Oliver as the Minister of Natural Resources.
Harper’s cabinet shuffle comes one month after the government faced fierce public and opposition criticism over the senate expense scandal, which involved his former chief of staff, Nigel Wright, giving Senator Mike Duffy money to re-pay expense claims.