Julian Fantino takes over Bev Oda’s cabinet role
Published Wednesday, July 4, 2012 5:08PM EDT
Last Updated Wednesday, July 4, 2012 7:38PM EDT
Associate minister of national defence Julian Fantino has taken over Bev Oda’s position as minister of International Co-operation, according to a release from the Prime Minister’s Office.
The move comes just one day after Oda announced that she was resigning as a member of Parliament for the riding of Durham, effective July 31.
Oda has been involved in several high-profile mishaps in the past year.
Most recently, she took heat in Parliament for upgrading to the swanky London Savoy hotel, hiring a high-priced limo and purchasing a $16 glass of orange juice during an international conference, information that became public at the same time the Conservative government was preaching the need for austerity and belt-tightening in the civil service.
In April, Oda was forced to apologize to the House of Commons and repay the costs of the hotel upgrade and the limo service.
She was also found to have altered a government funding document one year ago, a move that prompted calls for her resignation.
It was widely expected that Prime Minister Stephen Harper was set to move Oda out of her position as international co-operation minister in an upcoming summer cabinet shuffle.
In a statement released Wednesday, Fantino said he was “humbled” to take on the new role.
“I look forward to this opportunity to serve as the Minister of International Development and look forward to continuing the good work being done by CIDA around the world, in particular the efforts to save the lives of mothers, children and newborns,” Fantino said in a statement.
Fantino, a former commissioner of the Ontario Provincial Police, handled the procurement file for the Defence and was the point person in the House of Commons to deflect much of the criticism lobbed at the Conservatives over cost overruns and delays in the new F-35 fighter jet procurement process.
“Harper knows that he is taking someone who has very strong organizational capabilities -- he ran a police force -- who is able to take direction, as well, from the PMO,” said CTV’s Mercedes Stephenson.
Fantino, who represents the Ontario riding of Vaughan, will be replaced by Bernard Valcourt, who will take over as the new associate minister of national defence.
Valcourt was first elected to Parliament in 1984 and represents the New Brunswick riding of Madawaska-Restigouche. He currently serves as minister of state for the Atlantic Opportunities Agency, a post he will keep in addition to his new duties.
The prime minister’s press secretary said on Twitter that there will be no other cabinet moves today.
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