The existence of the Wexit movement is a national tragedy.
Former Harper government House Leader Jay Hill was named interim leader of “Wexit Canada”, a new federal separatist party that says it intends to run candidates in the next federal election.
As a former cabinet minister, there is concern that Hill adds some troubling credibility to a movement to break up Canada’s national integrity; so far, the movement has been easily dismissed as small and unsophisticated.
10:25AM: Cabinet embargo about to end. Should have the list up soon.
10:31AM: Other MPs at Rideau Hall: Bev Oda, Peter MacKay, Keith Ashfield, Gary Lunn, Chuck Strahl, Gordon O’Conner, Tony Clement, Gerry Ritz, Stephen Fletcher, and Lawrence Cannon.
10:40AM: Here we go. Here comes cabinet into the hall.
10:44AM: Nicholson stays in Justice, no surprise there.
10:45AM: Greg Thompson at Veterans Affairs, Chuck Strahl at INAC, Vic Toews at Treasury Board
10:48AM: Bev Oda at CIDA, Flaherty at Finance, Gerry Ritz at Agriculture
10:50AM: Jean-Pierre Blackburn to Revenue. Aglukkaq to Health. Finley to HRSRC.
10:55AM: Raitt to NRCan, Day to International Trade and Asia-Pacific Gateway.
10:55AM: Ambrose to Labour.
10:58AM: Prentice to environment. The could be to negotiate new regs with the provinces when it comes to GHG emissions. Alberta will need to sit down with the federal government soon to finalize the new regulations for the oil and gas sector.
11:00AM: Baird goes to Transport/Infrastructure.
11:01AM: Cannon goes to Foreign Affairs.
11:02AM: Tony Clement goes to Industry.
11:05AM: Josee Verner to intergovernmental affairs.
11:05AM: Jay Hill to House Leader.
11:05AM: PVL to Public Safety.
11:07AM: Jason Kenney to Citizenship, Immigration and Multiculturalism.
11:08AM: Christian Paradis to Public Works.
11:09AM: James Moore to Heritage and Official Languages.
11:14AM: Gail Shea to Fisheries.
11:16AM: Gary Lunn to Sport.
11:17AM: Gordon O’Connor to Government Whip.
11:18AM: Helena Guergis to Status of Women.
11:19AM: Diane Ablonczy stays at Small Business.
11:20AM: Rob Merrifield to Minister of State (Transport).
11:22AM: Lynne Yelich to Western Economic Diversification.
11:24AM: Steven Fletcher to Democratic Reform.
11:27AM: Gary Goodyear to Minister of State for Science and Technology. Goodyear will work closely with Minister of Industry Tony Clement.
11:29AM: Denis Lebel to economic development for Quebec. Lebel will be the cash man for Quebec and this will help him electorally.
11:31AM: Keith Ashfield to ACOA.
11:32AM: Peter Kent to Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs (Americas).
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?