… Jane Philpott, as I hoped (for the sake of the Liberal Party’s long term health as the other of the two ‘natural governing parties‘ in Canada, which I firmly believe we need), who gets a significant portfolio because she is an excellent minister and, as far as I can judge, a good choice to succeed Justin Trudeau as leader of the Liberal Party of Canada. President of the Treasure Board is not a ‘sexy’ portfolio and it does not get a lot of media attention but it is one of the ‘central agencies,’ along with the Privy Council Office and Finance, that manages the government and Dr Philpott will be a very powerful voice at the cabinet table ~ she will set priorities for almost all other ministers. She is a god choice for a key portfolio.
Also in the winner’s circle are Bernadette Jordan, a rookie MP from a rural Nova Scotia riding, and David Lametti, a former McGill University law professor from urban Montreal. Mr Lamettti replaces Jody Wilson-Raybould in Justice, while Ms Jordan, the new Minister of Rural Economic Development, does three things:
- Keeps a Nova Scotian in the cabinet;
- Maintains gender balance; and, perhaps most important
- Tries to shore up Liberal support in rural areas.
Minister of Justice is one of the very few jobs in cabinet that has any sort of job ‘requirement,’ the incumbent is, always, I think, a lawyer. Mr Lametti certainly appears to be fully and very well qualified for the appointment.
The big loser, it seems to me, is Jody Wilson-Raybould who certainly appears to be being demoted from Justice Minister to Veterans Affairs. But, as some observers have pointed out, veterans are, as they were in 2014/15, a big and delicate political problem. Most people don’t understand veterans’ issues but they sympathize with the plight of the men and women who were wounded, in body and spirit, in Canada’s service. Ms Wilson-Raybould is a very accomplished person, but she had some mixed reviews for her time as Minister of Justice, most notably for the lack of (much needed) judicial appointments, But there were rumours that she was hampered by an unrealistic set of quota like requirements set by the PMO. Maybe someone believes that her first rate mind and steady hand are needed to correct the course of a portfolio that appears to be careening into danger.
Promoting Seamus O’Regan to anything, in fact keeping him in cabinet at all, strikes me as verging on madness. He seems, to me, to be a bumbling incompetent of dubious character … but he is a very good friend of the prime minister, so, worthless though he may be, he gets to keep his ministerial limo.
All in all it was an OK shuffle; with the exception of Mr O’Regan, Team Trudeau has doubtless done more good than harm for the Liberal Party and, perhaps, for Canada ~ Canada’s veterans might finally get some needed attention that neither Kent Hehr nor Seamus O’Regan were ever able to offer; Ms Wilson-Raybould is made of much better stuff than those two. The cabinet is, by and large, still weak, in my opinion, and also still too large. I wonder if there might be another shuffle later this winter or spring to get some other new faces out front as the Liberals prepare for the election. But another shuffle will be tricky … Prime Minister Trudeau will, I suspect, not want to get rid of any of those I dubbed ‘losers’ and he will want to maintain gender and regional balance, too ~ that means keeping the likes of e.g. Hussen, Monsef and O’Regan, no matter how weak (or worse) they might be.