Harper reveals new cabinet, new faces, but keeps veterans in key roles
Published Monday, July 15, 2013 8:38AM EDT
Last Updated Monday, July 15, 2013 8:56PM EDT
Prime Minister Stephen Harper unveiled his new cabinet Monday -- introducing Canadians to a team that includes some new faces but maintains certain veterans in key positions.
Harper said the cabinet shuffle represents a “generational change” of his inner circle.
"This is really the commencement of something I told all ministers at the beginning of this Parliament: that in the course of this mandate, I would bring a generational change to the ministry,” he said.
“This is an important step forward in terms of that."
Harper said many young members of Parliament are ready for more responsibility, and noted that he’s “particularly proud” of the four new women who have been added to cabinet.
Harper revealed the following key changes for existing members:
- Peter MacKay moves from Defence to Justice;
- Ontario MP Rob Nicholson moves from Justice to Defence;
- Steven Blaney moves from Veterans Affairs to Public Safety;
- Lisa Raitt moves to Transport from Labour;
- Denis Lebel moves from Transport to Infrastructure, Communities and Intergovernmental Affairs;
- B.C. MP James Moore moves from Heritage to Industry;
- Jason Kenney moves from Immigration to Employment and Social Development (formerly HRSDC);
- Diane Finley moves from HRSDC to Public Works;
- Alberta MP Rona Ambrose is promoted from Status of Women to minister of Health;
- Leona Aglukkaq moves from Health to the Environment portfolio;
- Christiane Paradis moves from Industry to International Development;
- Julian Fantino moves from International Co-operation to Veterans Affairs.
- Kerry-Lynne Findlay was Associate Minister of National Defence and is now Minister of National Revenue.
New cabinet ministers include up-and-coming MPs Dr. Kellie Leitch, Michelle Rempel and Chris Alexander.
"What you've seen today is the addition of younger people who've been in the House of Commons, who've worked hard in other capacities, but whose advice and energy is now going to be added to that experienced team,” Alexander said. “And I think that adds up to a very powerful combination."
However, Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau said the new additions to Harper's cabinet would make little difference to the way the government functions.
"The only person making any decisions in this government is the prime minister," Trudeau said Monday morning. "So changing the mouthpieces isn't going to make much of a difference. Canadians are tired of having elected good people from their communities to be their voices in Ottawa and instead getting just the voice of the prime minister."
Harper began revealing exclusive details about the cabinet shuffle on Twitter at around 10 a.m. ET, announcing on the social media service that he was "Looking forward to welcoming 8 new faces to the Ministry this morning."
In addition to job shifts and promotions, he also announced that an entirely new ministry would be announced to "carry our new agenda forward."
Some ministers maintain key posts
A few of Harper's key cabinet ministers are retaining their posts, including Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird and Finance Minister Jim Flaherty. Tony Clement will also retain his role as president of the Treasury Board and Peter Van Loan will stay on as leader of the government in the House of Commons.
Ed Fast also stayed in his role as International Trade minister and Joe Oliver maintains Natural Resources.
Gerry Ritz keeps his job as minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food and Gail Shea officially takes charge of Fisheries.
Bernard Valcourt was promoted from his role as associate minister of national defence to become minister of Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development.
NDP Deputy Leader Megan Leslie told reporters in Ottawa that keeping the same ministers in certain key posts, such as finance, means that little will change in the Harper government.
“(Harper) talked about fresh faces. There was all this hype about more women in different portfolios and those portfolios are exactly the same,” Leslie said. “So if the prime minister was actually trying to create this pretend fresh face, if he actually thought, ‘you know what, this is time for a new direction,’ those key portfolios would be moved around.”
New faces in cabinet
Following are a number of new appointments announced Monday:
- Chris Alexander becomes minister of Citizenship and Immigration;
- Ontario MP Dr. Kellie Leitch becomes minister of Labour and minister of Status of Women;
- Manitoba MP Shelly Glover becomes minister of Canadian Heritage and Official Languages;
- Alberta MP Kevin Sorenson becomes minister of state for Finance;
- Greg Rickford becomes minister of state for Science and Technology;
- Candice Bergen becomes minister of state for Social Development;
- Michelle Rempel, formerly the parliamentary secretary to former environment minister Peter Kent, promoted to minister of state for Western Economic Diversification;
- Lynne Yelich becomes minister of state for Foreign Affairs.
The new appointments increase the female count to 12 in the 39-member cabinet.
Rempel, who at 33 years old is the youngest cabinet member, said she’s pleased with the change.
“You know, these are very high levels of representation for women around the cabinet table and I think that that's something that's very important to me," she said.
The changes were announced at Rideau Hall on Monday.
With files from The Canadian Press