Harper's new crew: Profiles of the 'fresh faces' in cabinet
Harper's new crew: Profiles of the 'fresh faces' in cabinet: Michelle Rempel, Shelly Glover Kerry-Lynne Findlay and Chris Alexander appear in this undated combination photo. (THE CANADIAN PRESS)
A short introduction to some of the fresh faces in the prime minister’s cabinet:
Chris Alexander (Minister of Citizenship and Immigration)
Chris Alexander (@calxandr) became known for sticking to partisan talking points as spokesperson for the federal government on military matters as the parliamentary secretary to Defence Minister Peter Mackay. The 44-year-old father of two was also first elected in 2011 as MP for the Ontario riding of Ajax-Pickering, and before that spent nearly 20 years serving Canada in various diplomatic overseas posts.
Fun fact: Alexander lived and worked in Afghanistan for several years, and in 2003 was appointed Canada’s first resident ambassador in that country.
Shelly Glover (Minister of Canadian Heritage and Official Languages)
Shelly Glover (@ShellyGloverMP), from Winnipeg on her second term, has represented the constituency of Saint Boniface since 2008. She has served as parliamentary secretary for a number of ministers, most recently Finance Minister Jim Flaherty, and has served as one of the government’s cheerleaders for its Economic Action Plan. The married mother of five is a 19-year veteran of the Winnipeg Police Service, and is currently on a leave of absence from her job as a patrol sergeant.
Fun fact: Glover is of Metis heritage, and has volunteered with a number of organizations that support the Metis community in Manitoba.
Kellie Leitch (Minister of Labour and Minister of Status of Women)
Dr. Kellie Leitch (@KellieLeitch), MP for the Ontario riding of Simcoe-Grey, is another member of the 2011 rookie cohort. She, too, is a parliamentary secretary, both for the minister of human resources and to the minister of labour, and also serves as a regular mouthpiece for the government. Leitch is a highly regarded pediatric orthopedic surgeon and professor of surgery who not only has her Doctorate of Medicine, but also has an MBA from Dalhousie University.
Fun fact: There’s more? Leitch volunteers her services at the Children’s Hospital of Eastern Ontario in Ottawa, working around her MP schedule.
Ministers of state:
Michelle Rempel (Minister of State, Western Economic Diversification)
Michelle Rempel was first elected as the MP for Calgary Centre-North in 2011, and has since been perhaps the fastest-rising star in the Conservative caucus. As the parliamentary secretary to the environment minister, Rempel, 33, spent far more time in the House and on the political talk shows touting the government’s efforts on the file than Peter Kent.
Fun fact: Rempel is one of the most active Tweeters (@MichelleRempel) among all MPs, and her more than 5,100 followers may notice shots of wine mixed in with tweets about government initiatives and other Parliamentary business. The reason? Rempel is a certified sommelier.
Greg Rickford (Minister of State, Science and Technology, and Federal Economic Development Initiative for Northern Ontario)
Rickford became the first Conservative MP for the Ontario riding of Kenora when he beat the Liberal incumbent by 2000 votes in the 2008 election. The 45-year-old, who studied law at McGill and holds and MBA from Laval University, has served in a handful of Parliamentary Secretary roles, including to the Minister of Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development.
Fun fact: Rickford is the eldest of eight children.
Candice Bergen (Minister of State, Social Development)
Candice Bergen (@CandiceBergenMP) was first elected MP for the Manitoba riding of Portage-Lisgar in 2008 and re-elected in 2011, when she was appointed parliamentary secretary for the minister of public safety. Bergen is another frequent government spokesperson, particularly on its efforts to kill the much-maligned long-gun registry. Bergen’s private member’s bill to repeal the registry was defeated in 2010, but after winning a majority the Conservatives got their wish with the passing of Bill C-19.
Fun fact: Before running for office herself, Bergen served as Stephen Harper’s Manitoba campaign manager during his Conservative Party leadership bid.
Pierre Poilievre (Minister of State, Democratic Reform)
Ontario MP Pierre Poilievre (@pierrepoilievre) might be a new face to cabinet, but he’s a veteran of the Conservative caucus serving his fourth terms as MP for Nepean-Carleton. He most recently served as the Parliamentary Secretary for the Minister of Transportation. However, the 34-year-old is perhaps best known for his hyper-partisan tone when defending the government’s agenda on the political talk shows, or when turning a question in the House of Commons into an accusation against the Opposition.
Fun fact: You can thank Poilievre for that $500 per year you can claim for your child’s t-ball or hockey, as the Children’s Fitness Tax Credit was an idea he proposed back when Harper was still the Leader of the Opposition.
Kevin Sorenson (Minister of State, Finance)
Kevin Sorenson has represented his Alberta riding of Crowfoot for 13 years as a member of both the Conservative Party and Canadian Alliance. Among his previous responsibilities, Sorenson has served as the chair of the Standing Committee on Public Safety and National Security, as well as chair of the Special Committee on the Canadian Mission in Afghanistan.
Fun fact: Before getting into politics, Sorenson owned and operated his family's farm, which his grandfather started about a century ago.