I bumped into Jim Prentice a few weeks ago at the Manning Centre Networking Conference. I dusted off the part of my brain that stores info on current environmental issues and pulled out my trusty cam for an on-the-spot interview.
The questions in the interview are relevant to recent news about the American Senatorial stalling on instituting a cap-and-trade system in the US. Canadian critics argue that Canada should “set an example” moving forward on an international trading market while some economic realists disagree.
In the interim, the Minister of the Environment plans on moving to regulate and harmonize emissions standards.
Ottawa is abuzz with cabinet speculation this week as the summer starts to wind down and there’s no election in sight. Between elections, I’m told, the parliamentary press gallery’s second favourite fix is speculating how the front bench of the government will change. Since the days are hot, and while filing stories about the arctic might cool some off it is still viewed as playing into the man’s hands, and since there are only so many grumble pieces that can be written, cabinet speculation will have to do.
I’ve been chatting with a few friends and sources about the topic and here’s what I’ve deciphered with a high level of confidence.
Ottawa staffers can breathe a bit of relief (just a bit though) because while Carol Skelton is retiring from politics, no other cabinet minister will be shuffled out of cabinet. There will be promotions and demotions within the cabinet structure, but no current cabinet minister will find themselves without a chauffeured car next week. Thus, contrary to some reports, Oda will remain in cabinet.
On the flipside, no back-bencher is to be promoted to cabinet this time around.
Therefore, besides Skelton, the cabinet will neither grow nor shrink.
The shuffle within cabinet itself will be substantial enough that it’ll make a few headlines. I previously speculated (but didn’t write) that a shuffle could be quite surgical and we’d see a trading of two or three portfolios without making other waves, but now I’m hearing that there will be more than a few ministers with new titles. The government might say that such a switch affords new experience to already very capable ministers. Most of us might acknowledge this while recognizing that some fine tuning is due.
Specifically, Maxime Bernier may be shuffled out of Industry (not entirely sure about this) but I can say with certainty that he will not be shuffled into defence or finance.
Security minister Stockwell Day will stay in his current portfolio as most Hill people (including press) have found him to be very capable in his current role.
John Baird is also staying in environment.
I can also say with a certain degree of confidence that there will be a throne speech this fall and that the government is not likely to be shocking the country’s system with a brand new set of priorities as there is a lot of the current agenda that still needs attention.
When the Liberals received a misdialed fax from the Environment Minister’s office and the subsequently faxed threatening letter suggesting that the original document contained sensitive market information, one wonders if the Grits would have made more of the incident if the Conservatives hadn’t hit back so hard and successfully on the Holland/Jennings boxes incident which backfired on that party highlighting Liberal arrogance when it comes to sensitive information…