Prime Minister Stephen Harper's new cabinet includes several new faces and sees veteran ministers such as John Baird and Tony Clement promoted to new roles.

The cabinet is tied with Brian Mulroney's as the largest ever, with 39 members. Prior to the election Harper had 38 members in his cabinet.

When asked why he had put together such a large cabinet in a time of fiscal restraint, Harper said the goal was to utilize the skills of as many MPs as possible.

"It is increasingly a challenge to make full use of all the people I have in front of me," Harper told reporters after the swearing-in ceremony at Rideau Hall.

"I think it would be a mistake to try and have a smaller cabinet that would make less use of people but like I say, we try to deal with cost issues through slimming the budgets of the ministers' offices and we will continue to do that."

In the new cabinet Baird takes on the role of foreign affairs minister, promoted from his previous role as government house leader. He replaces Lawrence Cannon who lost his seat in the recent election.

Baird already faces a pressing issue in the portfolio: whether to extend Canada's mission in Libya, where it's helping to enforce a United Nations-mandated no-fly zone.

The mission was approved by the House of Commons on March 21 for three months.

"What I want to do is sit down with my officials in Foreign Affairs and International Trade, sit down and talk to (Defence Minister) Peter MacKay, and then talk to the opposition parties," he told Power Play.

Clement moves from the industry ministry to become president of the treasury board.

British Columbia MP Ed Fast becomes international trade minister -- a significant promotion for the backbench member known for a successful private member's bill that increased the maximum sentence for those convicted of luring children over the Internet.

Newly-elected Toronto MP Joe Oliver also experienced a meteoric rise, vaulted to the full cabinet posting of natural resources minister.

"I really felt tremendously proud," he told Power Play.

Peter Penashue, a newly-elected MP and the only Conservative member from Newfoundland and Labrador, takes on the powerful role of minister of intergovernmental affairs and the Privy Council.

Christian Paradis moves from secretary of state for agriculture to the industry portfolio.

Julian Fantino, former seniors minister, will shift to a position styled as associate minister of national defence -- essentially a junior minister to Defence Minister Peter MacKay.

Denis Lebel takes on the transport portfolio while Gail Shea, the lone Conservative MP from P.E.I., moves from fisheries to national revenue -- a slight demotion. Keith Ashfield shifts to the fisheries portfolio from national revenue.

Status quo

Meanwhile, many cabinet ministers in important roles are staying put, such as MacKay, Finance Minister Jim Flaherty, Health Minister Leona Aglukkaq and Justice Minister Rob Nicholson.

Maxime Bernier, one of only five Conservatives elected in Quebec, returns to cabinet after a three-year exile in a junior role as minister of state for small business and tourism.

Three years ago he resigned from his role as foreign affairs minister after leaving secret documents at his girlfriend's house.

Peter Van Loan follows in Baird's footsteps as government house leader.

James Moore continues as heritage minister, Lisa Raitt stays on as labour minister and Gerry Ritz continues in the agriculture portfolio.

Bev Oda will also stay on as minister of international co-operation and head of CIDA, despite recent controversy over the cancellation of millions of dollars in funding to aid agency KAIROS.

Jason Kenney -- whom many expected to be promoted -- stays on in the immigration portfolio but receives a significant promotion to become chair of the government operations committee -- one of the most powerful positions in government.

Rona Ambrose will continue as minister of public works and government services and the status of women, while Diane Finley stays on in the human resources portfolio.

Lisa Raitt stays on in the labour portfolio and John Duncan continues as aboriginal affairs and northern development minister.

Additional junior cabinet ministers

  • Tim Uppal becomes minister of state for democratic reform.
  • Alice Wong becomes minister of state for seniors.
  • Bal Gosal becomes minister of sport, succeeding Gary Lunn who lost his seat to Green party Leader Elizabeth May.
  • Bernard Valcourt becomes minister of state in charge of the Atlantic Canada Opportunities agency.
  • Gordon O'Connor is minister of state and chief government whip.
  • Diane Ablonczy is minister of state of foreign affairs (Americas and Consular Affairs)
  • Lynne Yelich is minister of state for Western economic diversification.
  • Steven Fletcher is minister of state for transport.
  • Gary Goodyear is minister of state for science and technology.
  • Ted Menzies is minister of state for finance.