“New faces, experienced hands.” That’s the slogan that Stephen Harper slapped on his reshuffled cabinet, whereby there is now one more woman in the ranks – though none in any major economic portfolio – and the average age has moved from 55 to 52. And by keeping the likes of Peter Van Loan as the Government House Leader, it’s not signalling any change in tone or strategy (let alone trying to find someone competent when it comes to House management, because we know that Van Loan has proven not to be). The cabinet shuffle announcements also formed part of a new social media strategy by the PMO, where they were sent out over Twitter and other social media (and yes, Twitter Canada did track this). Here is the full list of the reshuffled cabinet, as well as the cabinet committees where the real work of this government happens. Laura Stone profiles some of the new faces, as well as some of the departing ones. Global notices five things about the ceremony itself. John Geddes comments on the sweeping changes, the spine of continuity, and the rabidly partisan undertone that make up this cabinet. Tim Harper notes how little actually changed in the shuffle. Paul Wells gives his own take on the shuffle on video here. Andrew Coyne notes that the bloating of cabinet has been in inverse proportion to the effectiveness of the ministers within it.
It seems that as part of the transition preparation, ministers’ offices were asked to include a list of troublesome bureaucrats, stakeholders and even journalists to be included in the briefing binders. Because hey, there’s nothing like blacklists to show that you’re ready to put a new face on the ministry.
It has been noted that Harper did a complete clean out of the Defence-related portfolios, and that may signal a new way of doing things on those procurement files, and with restructuring the Forces in an era of fiscal restraint.
Lisa Raitt also made sure to speak to the Ethics Commissioner before the shuffle, as her common-law spouse heads the Hamilton Port Authority, which may come into contact with her new role as Transport minister.
And while their local MP, Christian Paradis, got demoted in the shuffle, the mayor of Lac-Mégantic still has faith him him.
The Toronto Star gets a tour of the RCMP operations centre that governs security on the Hill, and a glimpse at the kind of operational planning that goes into major events like Canada Day, where the challenge continues to be maintaining public access while still creating an environment of security.
The NDP spent the most of any party on advertising in 2012, in an attempt to brand Thomas Mulcair as their new leader. The Liberals spent the least, and focused more on online ads than on traditional TV ads, but considering that they were in the run-up and to a leadership contest, it’s not all that surprising.
A class-action lawsuit has been filed by some of the residents of Lac-Mégantic over the disaster there.
A new report praises the growth in parks in this country – but also warns that drilling activities within metres of their borders threatens them.
An audit of several Canadian Forces bases finds systemic problems with the handling of hazardous materials, especially in that there are a lack of standard procedures and protocols that lead to problems.
Here is more about the nascent First Nations organisation that is rising up to challenge the AFN, and how that could be creating a schism within the Aboriginal community.
And CSIS is advising government officials travelling abroad to be more careful for threats of kidnapping, being drugged, or blackmailed, seeing as espionage is at a level equal to what it was during the Cold War.