BREAKING – Kevin Lynch out as Clerk of the Privy Council

A source inside the government has just told me that Kevin Lynch is out as Clerk of the Privy Council and that Wayne Wouters is the new Clerk.  Wouters was recently the Secretary of the Treasury Board.  When I confirmed with a friend in the Prime Minister’s Office, he was surprised because they had only found out internally within the last five minutes.

UPDATE: It’s officially confirmed.  Here’s the release.


Ottawa – Prime Minister Stephen Harper announced today the appointment of Wayne Wouters as the new Clerk of the Privy Council, effective July 1, 2009.

Mr. Wouters joined the Canadian Public Service in 1982 and is presently Secretary of the Treasury Board. He has served with distinction in a broad range of Ministries including the Privy Council Office. Mr. Wouters was Deputy Minister, Human Resources and Skills Development Canada and Chairperson, Canada Employment Insurance Commission and before that Deputy Minister, Human Resources Development Canada and Deputy Ministry of Labour. Other positions include Director General Department of Energy, Mines and Resources; General Director Department of Finance; and Deputy Minister Department of Fisheries and Oceans.

“I am pleased that Mr. Wouters accepted this very challenging role,” said the Prime Minister. “I am confident that his knowledge and experience will provide the dedication and excellence of service that is a hallmark of the Public Service and the Office of the Clerk.

“I look forward to working with Wayne in his new role.”

What does the future hold for Lynch? Apparently he’s in the running to replace Michael Wilson as our ambassador to the United States. David Emerson is also said to be a contender for the job.

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?