So the new Cabinet is out and all the pundits are talking.
I'm going to throw my two cents in on a number of new Ministers, but not all (some of them are pretty natural fits with no real comment needed).
THE HONOURABLE ROBERT NICHOLSON
Government House Leader and Minister of Democratic Reform
Minister Nicholson is an excellent choice for the House Leader post as an experienced parliamentarian. The Democratic Reform portfolio going to an Ontarian should bode well for the success of the reform package.
THE HONOURABLE PETER MACKAY
Minister of Foreign Affairs and Minister for ACOA
My first thought is to be happy that Minister MacKay will be spending much time outside of Canada, but on such a good day even I can be positive about this man. He's an able Minister and will represent us well as a firm but fair voice on the world stage.
THE HONOURABLE DAVID EMERSON
Minister of International Trade and Minister for the Pacific Gateway and 2010 Olympics
Like Prime Minister Harper, I have always been impressed with Minister Emerson. It has been said that he is a person who "likes the job, but doesn't like the politics". He served Canada well as Industry Minister, and will continue to serve us well as Minister of International Trade, particularily with a more supportive team behind him.
THE HONOURABLE JOHN BAIRD
President of the Treasury Board
This department deals most directly with the public service and thus a Capital Region MP will be well suited to Treasury Board. Minister Baird is also a proven talent in Government, and will be a huge asset to the Conservative team.
THE HONOURABLE STOCKWELL DAY
Minister of Public Safety
No surprise that Minister Day is in cabinet. I personally believe that the same zero-tolerance attitude towards terrorism and rogue states that may have made him a liability as Foreign Affairs Minister will make him an exceptional Minister of Public Safety. I, for one, feel much safer under Stockwell Day than I did under Anne McLellan.
THE HONOURABLE CHUCK STRAHL
Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food
Glad to see Minister Strahl in cabinet... I would suspect Peter Milliken is as well, since it clears the way for him to be re-elected as Speaker of the House. Minister Strahl will be an excellent voice for farmers in Canada, and should preside over some very positive changes at the Canadian Wheat Board. I do have to laugh, though, as I suspect that much of what is grown in Minister Strahl's Fraser Valley riding isn't legal.
THE HONOURABLE MONTE SOLBERG
Minister of Citizenship and Immigration
I am very happy to see Minister Solberg take on this role. Some of the less well-informed in Central Canada may be bothered by the fact that this portfolio didn't go to an urban, Central Canadian MP. But let's look at facts, Alberta is becoming the destination of choice to thousands of skilled immigrants every year and it will be helpful for us to have a voice in this department. Also remember that Minister Solberg's hometown of Brooks is fast becoming a very multi-cultural community, so this file is not foreign to him (pardon the pun).
THE HONOURABLE RONA AMBROSE
Minister of the Environment
Again, to the Central Canadian intelligentia this may be a surprise. Its important to note, though, that the Green Party consistantly does well (relatively) in Alberta. Environmental issues are front and centre in Alberta, and a strong voice such as Minister Ambrose's will serve this department well.
THE HONOURABLE GARY LUNN
Minister of Natural Resources
To me, this is an important portfolio. The Natural Resources file has a great impact on Alberta and its residents. This department has not had a decent Minister since Anne McLellan held the post in the early 90s... and has not had a COMPETENT Minister since the Liberals took office. Minister Lunn is able and eager, and I believe will be a breath of fresh air for the resource community in Canada.
THE HONOURABLE MICHAEL CHONG
President of the Queen's Privy Council, Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs and Minister for Sport
This was the third biggest surprise of the day. Minister Chong is a very, very intelligent person and will bring much to this portfolio. It will also provide him with an exceptional opportunity to work with and learn from Prime Minister Harper, who will likely be doing a lot of the heavy lifting on the Intergovernmental Affairs file.
THE HONOURABLE MICHAEL FORTIER
Minister of Public Works and Government Services
Although the appointment of Minister of Fortier will provide some challenges, having an experienced voice for Montreal was essential and the Prime Minister has obviously come to the same conclusion. Having a Quebecer as Minister of this department will also show that not all federalists are corrupted by power and influence.
THE HONOURABLE CAROL SKELTON
Minister of National Revenue and Minister for Western Economic Diversification
I don't have much to say about this, other than i'm really REALLY happy for Carol :)
This is everyone's big let down. I realized that a lot of very qualified people like Rahim Jaffer, James Rajotte, Jason Kenney would not make it to cabinet simply because of size and regional issues. But I really thought Diane had everything going for her... she was a woman, an able senior critic, an experienced and respected parliamentarian... everything you look for in a Cabinet Minister. I'm not sure what the Prime Minister has planned for her, but he does owe her something big... she sure took one for the team this morning.
Another experienced and loyal foot soldier, I suspect Jay Hill became victim of regionalization. I suspect that he will also be awarded something in the days to come, although i'm not sure this stings him quite as badly as it does Ms. Ablonczy.
I thought James had a lot going for him, particularily given that he was the most high-profile Conservative elected (as a Conservative, anyway) in the Lower Mainland. I speculated that his age may have been a factor, but there are a number of other young Ministers appointed today so that likely wasn't an issue. So what cost James Moore a seat at the table? Two words... David Emerson. And as much as I like and respect James, that's a tough call to argue with. James will maintain a high profile, though, and is most likely being groomed for the next Cabinet. Time is on his side, and there are still many great things to come for him.