Monday, August 13, 2007

Steve's Cabinet Picks

Speculations. We got speculations. And we're willing to put our money where our mouth is. Anyone who gets more correct cabinet placements than me will be ELIGIBLE TO WIN a genuine replica of the envelope Peter MacKay used to betray David Orchard. Plus I'll fill it with all the change from underneath my sofa cushions.

So with that sweet offer, and without further ado, here's my Canada's New Government™ team line-up prediction for 2007 (thoughts and explanations to follow). It starts with Carol Skelton, who isn't running again, and who vacates Revenue, setting up the following dominos:

Revenue: Gordon O'Connor moves from Defense
Defense: Maxime Bernier moves from Industry
Industry: Gary Lunn moves from Natural Resources
Natural Resources: Rona Ambrose moves from Intergovernmental Affairs
Intergovernmental Affairs: Tony Clement moves from Health
Health: Monte Solberg moves from HRSD
Human Resources & Skills Development: Lawrence Cannon moves from Transport
Transport: Peter MacKay moves from Foreign Affairs
Foreign Affairs: Jim Prentice moves from Indian Affairs
Indian Affairs: Lynne Yellich gets promoted from the back benches

One direct trade:
Heritage: Jason Kenney moves from Multiculturalism & Culture
Multiculturalism & Culture (Minister of State): Bev Oda

And the remaining Ministers will stay where they are:
Justice: Rob Nicholson
International Trade: David Emerson
Labour and Housing: Jean-Pierre Blackburn
Veterans Affairs: Greg Thompson
Agriculture: Chuck Strahl
Fisheries: Loyola Hearn
Public Safety: Stockwell Day
Treasury: Vic Towes
Immigration: Diane Finley
Environment: John Baird
Finance: Jim Flaherty
CIDA: Josée Verner
Public Works: Michael Fortier
House Leader: Peter Van Loan
Whip: Jay Hill

O'Connor has to go from Defense. The Afghanistan file is bogged down and needs someone who can pick it up and make it work for Harper, particularly in Quebec. Bernier's the man. But O'Connor won't go to Veterans Affairs, because it's too obvious and Harper doesn't want to be predictable. Revenue won't be seen as a demotion to the same extent Veterans Affairs would be, but it's sufficiently low-profile to get O'Connor out of the spotlight.

Moving Clement from Health to Intergovernmental Affairs may look like a demotion on the surface, but federal-provincial relations is going to be a hotter file than anytime since 1995. It needs someone with a steady hand who can handle himself in public.

Canada's role in the world will be one of Harper's key priorities following a fall throne speech, and Jim Prentice, who's one of Harper's most trusted Ministers, will take front and centre. Moving Peter MacKay to Transport will be seen as a lateral move, although in MacKay's case it should really be viewed as a demotion.

Lynne Yellich will be the only backbencher to move to the the grown-ups table. With Skelton out, Harper needs a woman and someone from Saskatchewan. The need for women representation in Cabinet will also mean that Bev Oda won't go to the back benches, but Heritage needs someone who can speak, so it goes to Kenney.

Nicholson will hang onto Justice and Day will stay in Public Safety. Both have performed well in their respective portfolios. There's been speculation that Day might move to Justice, but that would set up the same problems that existed when Vic Towes was working that file. Like Towes, Day is too socially conservative for the government to maintain its centrist appearance, and he's too easy to attack.


Danick said...

I think that you are bang on my friend! Yelich will definitely get into the frontbenches! However, where is Diane Ablonczy? She has to be in Cabinet one way or another. If this dedicated and loyal Conservative is not promoted this time some people will start seriously questioning why. MacKay’s move will be perceived for sure as a demotion and a slap in the face to Atlantic Canadians (another slap by this Regressive Conservative Government). Also, it will be a slap in the face for all the former Progressive Conservatives who are still supporting (especially in Atlantic Canada, Ontario and Manitoba) Harper. Knowing the way Harper is there will surely be some surprises tomorrow! A rumour had Fortier leaving, I doubt it... Fortier will stay where he is and Baird also just for pure stability and consistency. Bernier and Fortier are potential future leadership contenders, so Harper may be tempted to have them taking more risks in order to make his tenure as leader last longer... even after a possible defeat at the polls!


Marjaleena Repo said...

Hi Steve,

You write that you will give the winner 'a genuine replica of the envelope Peter MacKay used to betray David Orchard.' Actually, it wasn't an envelope at all but a full page from David Orchard's 8 1/2 x 11 notebook — where it still sits! The whole sordid story of the agreement (not to merge the Progressive Conservative Party with the Reform Alliance and to abide by the PC Party's constitution which prohibited such a merger) can be found on David Orchard's website,, where you can see the agreement and read the blow-by-blow account of the negotiations and the consequent betrayal of David Orchard and ALL PC party members, with Steven Harper publicly and openly urging Mackay to betray the agreement which has his solemn signature on it.

As you will find out from the story and the photos, I was there, as part of David Orchard's negotiating team, and as the Saskatchewan vice- president on the PC party's management committee, where I was an eyewitness to Mackay's hoodwinking of the highest decision-making body of the party.