Ottawa – July 18, 2013 – Conservative boss Harper figured a shuffle of his cabinet would turn the channel on the ever-evolving Senate scandal. Harper thinks UFCW Canada members and families will forget about everything else and marvel at his new younger and more female friendly cabinet.
However reality quickly checks in. With new information coming out almost daily on how Harper misled Canadians about what he knew about Senator Duffy’s payoff and the leak of emails about his list of enemies, any good feelings there may have been about his new cabinet has quickly evaporated.
But let us take a look at his new cabinet and see if anything has really changed:
- By and large, the most significant ministers such as Finance and Foreign Affairs have stayed the same.
- Yes, he’s added more women but women still make up less than a third of the cabinet and those appointed were rewarded for their ability to stick to Harper’s speaking notes.
- Harper’s cabinet is now tied for the biggest in Canadian history making it also the most costly.
- He has appointed 13 Ministers of State – a hugely inflated number in no way justified by their responsibilities.
- He has appointed Pierre Poilievre, one of his most vicious attack dogs, as Minister of State for Democratic Reform: a position that would require someone who can actually work with other parties.
So perhaps some things have changed. Cabinet is now bigger, and at a time when Harper is gutting public services and cutting budgets, cabinet is now more expensive. New Ministers are those rewarded for sticking tightly to their speaking notes, defending every government move and his most partisan wolf hound Pierre Poilievre has been rewarded. Is this change? Perhaps. But change for the better? Highly doubtful.