Cabinet facts and speculation

See my final cabinet speculation here

Tomorrow, Prime Minister Stephen Harper will name his new cabinet at Rideau Hall at 10:30am. There is a lot of speculation flowing out there and from this, I’ve been able to discern a few facts.

First, the easy facts: cabinet will be larger and have more women. Stephen Harper was returned to 24 Sussex on October 14th with an increased minority. Among the new seats gained by the Tories include a number of well-qualified women.

Second, Jim Flaherty stays in finance. In a time of global economic uncertainty, and after an election fought on stability in these times, changing the minister of finance could be seen as a bad signal to the world.

A few speculated that Helena Guergis may be retiring to the backbench. However, Guergis has told her junior ministerial staff that they’ll be employed in her office for at least the short-term future. I’ve also heard that Guergis is moving portfolios. Josee Verner is also moving portfolios.

Environment minister John Baird will also be moving portfolios now that green leader of the opposition Stephane Dion is stepping down. Baird was the go-to guy for acting as a shield for the government on tricky portfolios. He’ll move on to new responsibilities in cabinet.

As of Friday night, when most cabinet hopefuls had received their calls from the PM invited them to serve in the new cabinet, Maxime Bernier was left waiting. A few speculated that he’d return to cabinet, however, it seems that he’ll have some more time in the penalty box.

The newly minted Member of Parliament from Nunavut Leona Aglukkaq will serve in the next cabinet. Stephen Harper personally recruited the former territorial minister and has made northern sovereignty a defining issue of his Prime Ministership. Aglukkaq would be the first female Inuit to serve in federal cabinet. It is expected that she’ll become responsible for the new opportunities agency for the north.

Speculative news that I’m hearing is that Trade will be shifted from Foreign Affairs to Industry and that the Minister of Industry would also assume duties for this portfolio. Or, alternatively, trade will be under Industry bur will have a separate minister. The last election saw the defeat of Harper’s trade minister and a failure to re-offer by his foreign affairs minister.

On foreign affairs, I’m hearing that Lawrence Cannon will herd the cats at DFAIT. A french-speaking and centrist Conservative, Cannon may be Harper’s choice to head that portfolio.

In departmental news, I’m hearing that Transport and Infrastructure will be broken into two. Rookie MP Lisa Raitt may be a perfect fit for a reduced transport portfolio, while a Toronto area minister such as Peter Kent may fit the bill to shower the region with infrastructure development money. UPDATE: A bureaucrat that has seen the briefing books for Transport’s next minister says that infrastructure is still part of Transport’s mandate.

Will there be another Liberal defection to cabinet? I’m hearing yes and that it’ll be from Quebec (I’d categorize this as speculative even though my high level source seemed to be certain). After the last election Vancouver MP David Emerson jumped from the Liberal ranks to sit as a Conservative cabinet minister. With a Liberal party in ruin, we may just see one or more defections tomorrow.

UPDATE: Tony Clement is now confirmed as moving from the Ministry of Health.

UPDATE: Jim Prentice is expected to stay at Industry.

UPDATE: I’m hearing that Verner is going to intergovernmental affairs.

UPDATE: Late breaking speculative gossip: Ambrose to HRSDC?

UPDATE: Hill from Whip to House Leader?

Comments

comments

  • PrairieDog

    Peter Kent will definately help the Conservatives in the Toronto area. I think he will, in time, be a front runner for the leadership of the Conservatives. As far as more women in cabinet…there is no doubt. There are a couple new female MP's from Manitoba that will stand out, along with the obvious, Gail Shea of PEI. Now, as far as the defection to the Conservatives go…there will be at least two or three, in my opinion. I am sure that there is workbeing done already to have that happen. Wishful thinking, but I'd like to see a dozen walk across the floor. lol

  • Brandin

    Is the defection Irwin Cotler? Any news on Keith Martin?

  • Jamie Souther

    Lawrence Cannon is not a francophone. The only truly cabinet-worthy Liberal from Québec is Stéphane Dion and I don't think he will be showing up at Rideau Hall.

  • http://therightitswhereitsat.blogspot.com/ The Right

    “Will there be another Liberal defection to cabinet? I’m hearing yes and that it’ll be from Quebec.”

    Could it be Mr.Dion? LOL At least he would be on the winning side.

  • bob

    Liberal or Conservative, I want Keith Martin to keep doing what he's doing to knock back the powers of the HRCs. I'd be thrilled if he crossed the floor… he'd be a welcome addition.

  • http://www.infobooksandthings.com PrairieDog

    Just had to add that I think that Aglukkaq will be one of the biggest wins for the Conservatives. She will not only add a female voice in Cabinet, but will also add so much inspiration to the Aboriginal community. She was known in the North, but relatively unknown on the national stage. Now, she will have the exposure and influence to move much of the Aboriginal community to the “right”.

  • machiavelli

    Isn't affirmative action wonderful; and Harper calls himself a small-c conservative?

    What is really sad is that legitimate small-c fiscal, social and/or judicial conservatives will not be represented in this parliament.

  • JDot

    I would like to see Dr.Martin stay a Liberal and still push the HRC issue. That way the CPC takes away the Liberal/Kinsella fearmongering issue. And it will be bi-partisan issue.

  • MF

    There are a few new MPs that I'd like to see in cabinet. As for a Quebec defection – why? Is this necessary?

    There are only 13 Liberal MPs in Quebec. 12 are from Montreal (the other in Marcel Proulx)
    There are:
    1. Francis Scarpallegia
    2. Marlene Jennings
    3. Lise Zarac
    4. Bernard Patry
    5. Raymonde Folco
    6. Massimo Pacetti

    7. Marc Garneau
    8. Irwin Cotler
    9. Stephane Dion
    10. Justin Trudeau
    11. Denis Coderre
    12. Pablo Rodriguez

    The first 6 have are low profile. the last 6 are somewhat known. It can't be Dion or Trudeau, and probably not Garneau. Pablo Rodriguez has been pretty aggressive towards the Tories. That leave Coderre and Cotler.

    If it's Cotler, then they shouldn't have denied it this week.

    I just don't see why this kind of stuff is necessary.

  • Allan

    Wouldn't that be hilarious if Trudeau crossed the floor?

  • David

    I would rule out Marlene Jennings crossing the floor. LOL

    I wonder if Michael Chong will be back in cabinet.

    This thing about how the Conservatives being unwelcome to women is quite annoying. More women voters voted tory than any other party and they elected more female MP's than any other party as well. Plus, the tories didn't have to put quotas on female candidates to do it either. It should be a strong cabinet tomorrow.

  • Anthony

    And the #1 reason for Mr. Dion to cross the floor: access to the best political fundraising operation in Canada to help pay off his 2006 leadership debt.

  • Jim

    If Denis Coderre crossed the floor and the CPC accepted him I would tear up my CPC membership card.

  • john g

    I think Cotler has already been debunked. If the speculation is true then my guess is Garneau. He seems the only one who might be cabinet worthy, and he was poorly treated by the Liberals.

  • East of Eden

    Oh, thanks for that spectre. Now, I won't be able to sleep tonight. Dion in our party – now that is one very scary thought. Augh.

  • East of Eden

    The anti-woman theme is just one more Lib slander against the Conservatives. I just had to see Harper in one photo with a baby and one photo with him and his daughter and I could tell that he is a man with a heart. So much for scary. But, the Libs keep on with their anti-everything, pro-Bush everything slander against our PM. It's really very stale and very undignified.

  • sir john a.

    Francis Scapaleggia voted agaisnt same-sex marriage and voted with Harper to reopen the SSM debate in the last parliament. He's smart, qualified, and would probably make a good cabinet minister. Plus, he'd give Harper that Montreal connection.

    Maybe?

  • http://mikewatkins.ca/tags/politics/ Michael Watkins

    If a Liberal switches teams a la Emerson, will Quebeckers to the right thing and stand up for democracy like Vancouver-Kingsway did? One hopes so, but hope alone won't do so you can be sure they'll get some help. Does any politician really want to suffer the consequence of the Emerson (self-inflicted) disease?

    If neither the Conservatives nor the Liberals actually give a damn about democracy, why bother pretending any longer. Lets move right on to oligarchy and dictatorship.

  • John

    Enough defections from the Liberals. It's unfair for well-qualified Conservative backbenchers who have been working hard for the Conservative movement for years.

    I'd like to see Alice Wong get a junior post because she is knowledgeable and has been working hard in the CA/Conservative Party for years. Her addition would help to solidify and expand ethnic support.

  • Bailey

    I noticed that you’ve changed the last paragraph a couple of times. I thought it was your policy when you edited posts to put “Edit” or “Update” in it.

  • Bailey

    I noticed that you’ve changed the last paragraph a couple of times. I thought it was your policy when you edited posts to put “Edit” or “Update” in it.

  • Al

    “Francis Scapaleggia”

    My first though too if Cotler is out.

    In addition he's a business man, has two economics degrees and MBA and is a professor of business.

  • http://www.infobooksandthings.com PrairieDog

    I completely agree with you, John, on having Alice Wong in cabinet. Alice Wong should and, I think, will have a post. She has been there for the Conservatives and is capable of holdin her own.

  • gimbol

    Now who in the liberal party out of Quebec would be the most likely to cross over?
    This doesn't make sense. Of all the liberal MP's currently not one has ever seemed to be what I'd call a blue-liberal. I could be wrong, but its just that there isn't any of them that have been notable for not following the party line.
    Now if you where speculating about a liberal MP from Ontario, that would seem much more plausible.
    But as for what is really possible, here's my scenario.
    There will be a group of liberal MP's break away from the party to form their own caucus.
    I find this to be much more plausible, as it would allow these MP's to rejoin the libeal caucus if a new leader is more to their liking.

  • gimbol

    Just had a thought.

    What if the liberal in question isn't an MP but a senator?

  • http://www.stephentaylor.ca Stephen Taylor

    I'm not too bullish on that rumour myself

  • Paul M

    Awesome info Stephen. Thanks!

  • Lycan Stark

    Diane Ablonczy? Hello?!? Isn't it about time she get a cabinet post???

  • Kat

    What about that Andre Arthur, the independant candidate from Quebec?

  • John

    Well she was Secretary of State for Small Business and Tourism. Rumour has it she's going to Health. It's about time she got something big!

  • Toby

    Are you implying that Aglukkaq is not qualified? Yeah, there should be more 'qualifed' white male ideologues like Bernier.

  • Brett

    I highly doubt it would be Denis Coderre as he is considered a left wing Liberal and was tainted by the Bloc with Adscam.

    If it were true, the most logical choice would be Irwin Cotler. He was a capable Justice Minister and shares some common ground with the CPC vis a vis the Middle East. He would be a good addition to the Cabinet.

    Although I suspect that Garneau could have the potential to cross the floor, he is a political neophyte and not likely to get a cabinet post anyway, unless it is the “Minister of Space”.

  • Anthony

    And the #1 reason for Mr. Dion to cross the floor: access to the best political fundraising operation in Canada to help pay off his 2006 leadership debt.

  • Jim

    If Denis Coderre crossed the floor and the CPC accepted him I would tear up my CPC membership card.

  • john g

    I think Cotler has already been debunked. If the speculation is true then my guess is Garneau. He seems the only one who might be cabinet worthy, and he was poorly treated by the Liberals.

  • East of Eden

    Oh, thanks for that spectre. Now, I won't be able to sleep tonight. Dion in our party – now that is one very scary thought. Augh.

  • East of Eden

    The anti-woman theme is just one more Lib slander against the Conservatives. I just had to see Harper in one photo with a baby and one photo with him and his daughter and I could tell that he is a man with a heart. So much for scary. But, the Libs keep on with their anti-everything, pro-Bush everything slander against our PM. It's really very stale and very undignified.

  • sir john a.

    Francis Scapaleggia voted agaisnt same-sex marriage and voted with Harper to reopen the SSM debate in the last parliament. He's smart, qualified, and would probably make a good cabinet minister. Plus, he'd give Harper that Montreal connection.

    Maybe?

  • http://mikewatkins.ca/tags/politics/ Michael Watkins

    If a Liberal switches teams a la Emerson, will Quebeckers to the right thing and stand up for democracy like Vancouver-Kingsway did? One hopes so, but hope alone won't do so you can be sure they'll get some help. Does any politician really want to suffer the consequence of the Emerson (self-inflicted) disease?

    If neither the Conservatives nor the Liberals actually give a damn about democracy, why bother pretending any longer. Lets move right on to oligarchy and dictatorship.

  • John

    Enough defections from the Liberals. It's unfair for well-qualified Conservative backbenchers who have been working hard for the Conservative movement for years.

    I'd like to see Alice Wong get a junior post because she is knowledgeable and has been working hard in the CA/Conservative Party for years. Her addition would help to solidify and expand ethnic support.

  • Al

    “Francis Scapaleggia”

    My first though too if Cotler is out.

    In addition he's a business man, has two economics degrees and MBA and is a professor of business.

  • http://www.infobooksandthings.com PrairieDog

    I completely agree with you, John, on having Alice Wong in cabinet. Alice Wong should and, I think, will have a post. She has been there for the Conservatives and is capable of holdin her own.

  • gimbol

    Now who in the liberal party out of Quebec would be the most likely to cross over?
    This doesn't make sense. Of all the liberal MP's currently not one has ever seemed to be what I'd call a blue-liberal. I could be wrong, but its just that there isn't any of them that have been notable for not following the party line.
    Now if you where speculating about a liberal MP from Ontario, that would seem much more plausible.
    But as for what is really possible, here's my scenario.
    There will be a group of liberal MP's break away from the party to form their own caucus.
    I find this to be much more plausible, as it would allow these MP's to rejoin the libeal caucus if a new leader is more to their liking.

  • gimbol

    Just had a thought.

    What if the liberal in question isn't an MP but a senator?

  • http://www.stephentaylor.ca Stephen Taylor

    I'm not too bullish on that rumour myself

  • Paul M

    Awesome info Stephen. Thanks!

  • Lycan Stark

    Diane Ablonczy? Hello?!? Isn't it about time she get a cabinet post???

  • Kat

    What about that Andre Arthur, the independant candidate from Quebec?

  • John

    Well she was Secretary of State for Small Business and Tourism. Rumour has it she's going to Health. It's about time she got something big!

  • Right Honorable Terry Tory

    Andre Arthur and irwin Coutler are both Conservative material and be good additions. I was hoping someone mention Diane Ablonczy…I hope she gets Health now that Clement is being moved to something else.

    Trudeau should be Castro’s janitor ,er ,ambassador

    Dion will defect to the Greens and become their leader.

    Liz May will replace the beaver on the tail side of our nickel

    Garneau will have “CANADA” with the maple leaf tattooed length wise on his arm just like the space shuttle’s robotic arm

    Marlene Jennings will marry Mark Holland. they will start a recycled paper sorting company in Ottawa

    Pablo Rodriguez is gay and has an eye on Scott Brison

    Ralpn Goodale will continue sweating and being upset

    Paul Szabo will have his own HRC and will also be a regular on the Michael Coren show along side Ezra Levant

    Garth Turner………………….WHO?