Will A Cabinet Shuffle Make Things Better or Worse?
There have been rumors swirling in Ottawa that Stephen Harper is planning for a Cabinet shuffle soon after the House of Commons rises for the summer. If the rumors prove true, it could be very interesting to see who lands where in the year old majority government. Several Ministers have had problems on their files, spending scandals and stupid mistakes, but Stephen Harper doesn’t like to be told what to do. Every time the opposition demands a minister resign, Harper seems to dig in his heels with his defense of them. The question is, how much can Canadians handle from these ministers?
A short review of who has been not so great:
Currently the Minister of Industry and formerly the Minister of Public Works, Paradis has been found in violation of the conflict-of-interest rules by the House Ethics Commissioner, Mary Dawson, in one investigation over his helped friend and former colleague Rahim Jaffer. He has been accused of ethics violations in at least three other cases, including one case where he is accused of moving an employment insurance center out of an opposition riding and into his own, in a building owned by his father’s business partner.
Currently the President of the Treasury Board and thus in charge of the government’s spending and the cuts currently being made in the Conservatives new budget. Clement’s riding was set to host the G8 summit in 2009. As a result, over $40 million was spent sprucing the place up. In the end, the summit was moved to Toronto (which turned out really well). The G8 Legacy Infrastructure Fund, which totaled $45.7 million, was spent on various projects in the Parry Sound–Muskoka riding. It was meant for “essential facilities” for the summit – that’s what the House of Commons approved it for – but was spent on such things as expansions to a community center and a gazebo an hour away from what was to be the meeting site. The opposition New Democrats have released many documents that they say prove Clement himself was involved in picking the project to be funded. Clement said he only made recommendations – all of which happened to be accepted.
The Minister of Defense, who loves a good photo op, has been making different claims about Canada’s purchase of the F-35 fighter jets and why the numbers got so confused. He also has a habit of using military equipment to get him where he needs to go. MacKay and his Associate Minister Julian Fantino have not been doing a very good job of stemming the tide of opposition attacks and they tend to contradict themselves and each other.
Bev Oda is the International Development Minister, in charge of making sure Canada’s foreign aid money gets to those countries that need it most. Sadly, while the minister takes limos everywhere she needs to be and spends money on five star hotels, funding from the Canadian International Development Agency is being cut. She was also the center of an embarrassing case of an altered memo. This Prime Minister does not like being embarrassed.
The Minister of Public Safety declared that any opposition member who opposed the (now essentially dead) internet surveillance bill was on the side of child pornographers. This declaration resulted in the so-called Vikileaks attacks, attention from Anonymous and calls for his resignation – another unwanted embarrassment for the Prime Minister.
The Aboriginal Affairs Minister mishandled the Attawapiskat file and created a huge headache for the Harper government. When the people on the Attawapiskat reserve were begging for appropriate housing with a cold winter on its way, Duncan chose to blame the Chief for misspending funding and appointed a third party manager, starting a nasty argument without doing anything to fix the problem. Whether or not the Chief was to blame for things that were not being fixed, innocent children were still getting set to freeze and voting Canadians could see where the priorities should lie.
The other big question is who could replace them? In Harper’s 166 member caucus, there are only a few MPs that he trusts to form his Cabinet. He also has to keep regional interests in mind.
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