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Cabinet buzz: potential risers and retirees

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    Cabinet buzz: potential risers and retirees Prime Minister Stephen Harper is widely expected shuffle his Cabinet this month. It could happen as early as next
    Message 1 of 1 , Jul 3 8:58 AM
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      Cabinet buzz: potential risers and retirees
      Prime Minister Stephen Harper is widely expected shuffle his Cabinet this month. It could happen as early as next week. Here's a look at who's who and where they may end up.

      The Hill Times photographs by Jake Wright
      Conservative MPs Mike Lake, Chris Alexander, and Michelle Rempel are all seen as rising stars and could be Cabinet material.
      Published: Tuesday, 07/02/2013 2:24 pm EDT

      Prime Minister Stephen Harper is widely expected shuffle his Cabinet this month. It could happen as early as next week. Here's a look at who's who and where they may end up.

      The Up-and-Comers

      Andrew Saxton, MP for North Vancouver, B.C.

      Andrew Saxton has served as Parliamentary secretary to the president of the Treasury Board since 2008, and has proven himself a loyal team player. First elected in 2008, he is most frequently mentioned as a potential Cabinet addition from British Columbia.

      Mike Lake, MP for Edmonton-Mill Woods-Beaumont, Alta.

      Mike Lake is among a number of "star" Conservative players from Alberta which could mean he won't get a Cabinet nod, but his name has popped up recently as a contender. He was first elected in 2006 and has served as Parliamentary secretary to the minister of Industry since 2008.

      James Rajotte, MP for Edmonton-Leduc, Alta.

      James Rajotte's name has long been floated as a potential addition to Cabinet, but with a number of loyal and "star" MPs from Alberta, he's always missed the cut. Sources say Mr. Rajotte, first elected in 2000 and current chair of the House Finance Committee, is well liked and respected by the caucus and would make a good House officer such as chief government whip or government House leader.

      Michelle Rempel, MP Calgary Centre-North, Alta.

      Michelle Rempel has demonstrated a keen ability to communicate and to put out political fires on the government's behalf. As the Parliamentary secretary to Environment Minister Peter Kent, she frequently outshines him during Question Period. Ms. Rempel's addition to Cabinet would help address the gender imbalance on the front bench and breathe new life into Prime Minister Harper's Cabinet.

      Candice Bergen, MP for Portage-Lisgar, Man.

      Candice Bergen has served as Parliamentary secretary to Public Safety Minister Vic Toews since 2011 and has worked hard to prove her grit to help end Canada's long-gun registry. A strong and effective communicator for the government, there is speculation that she could take over from Mr. Toews.

      Shelly Glover, MP for Saint Boniface, Man.

      Of late Shelly Glover has been caught up in a conflict with Elections Canada over expense claims from her 2011 campaign, but most sources felt it wouldn't be factored into whether she makes it to the Cabinet table. She's had diverse Parliamentary secretary roles for Official Languages, Aboriginal Affairs, and currently Finance. She is fully bilingual and is of M├ętis origin, two factors that boost her chances of being appointed to Cabinet.

      Chris Alexander, MP for Ajax-Pickering, Ont.

      A bilingual, former ambassador to Afghanistan, Chris Alexander is a top performer in the Conservative caucus and sources say he has proven himself effective and intelligent in his current role as Parliamentary secretary to the National Defence minister. He was recruited as a "star" candidate to run in the 2011 election and could be up for a promotion soon.

      Rick Dykstra, MP for St. Catharines, Ont.

      Rick Dysktra was first elected in 2006 and currently serves as the Parliamentary secretary to the minister of Citizenship and Immigration. He is seen as having a good personality and is well-liked by caucus. A loyal Conservative, sources say he's in line for a promotion.

      Kellie Leitch, MP for Simcoe-Grey, Ont.

      Kellie Leitch can often be seen fielding questions in the House of Commons and has proven herself an effective government spokesperson as the Parliamentary secretary to the Human Resources minister. Though Cabinet is far from starved for additional Ontario representation, Ms. Leitch's chances are boosted because of the gender inequality in the current front bench. However, Ms. Leitch is an orthopaedic pediatric surgeon and continues to put in hours at the nearby Children's Hospital of Eastern Ontario to maintain her credentials and her plate could be seen as too full.

      Pierre Poilievre, MP for Nepean-Carleton, Ont.

      Pierre Poilievre is one of the government's go-to spokespeople on all things controversial as a favoured spin doctor. He currently serves as the Parliamentary secretary to the Transport minister and previously as Parliamentary secretary to the Prime Minister.

      Greg Rickford, MP for Kenora, Ont.

      First elected in 2008, Greg Rickford has served as Parliamentary secretary to the minister of Aboriginal Affairs since 2011. Smart and bilingual, sources say he's doing a good job with the aboriginal affairs portfolio and could be tapped for a promotion.

      Rob Moore, MP for Fundy Royal, N.B.

      Previously minister of state for Small Business and Tourism, Rob Moore was shuffled out of Cabinet after the 2011 election to make room for newly-elected fellow New Brunswicker Bernard Valcourt. With Fisheries and Oceans Minister Keith Ashfield asking the PM to shuffle him out to deal with health problems, Mr. Moore is seen as the top candidate for his replacement.

      Robert Goguen, MP for Moncton-Riverview-Dieppe, N.B.

      With Fisheries and Oceans Minister Keith Ashfield's planned departure from Cabinet, there's a need for new East Coast blood at the table and sources say Robert Goguen could be a contender as the current Parliamentary secretary to the Justice minister. He has the added bonus of being fully bilingual.

      Gerald Keddy, MP for South Shore-St. Margaret's, N.S.

      Gerald Keddy has served as Parliamentary secretary to the minister for International Trade and for ACOA since 2008, and back in 2003 spent some time as whip for the now defunct Progressive Conservative party. First elected in 1997, observers say that of the three Nova Scotia MPs not already in Cabinet, Mr. Keddy is most frequently tapped for the front bench because of his experience.

      The Old Hands

      Public Safety Minister Vic Toews, MP for Provencher, Man.

      Vic Toews, 61, has not definitively said whether he will retire from politics soon, and his office says he is "committed to the critical work of his portfolio," but with his age and years of experience, the Public Safety minister is rumoured to be on his way out. He was first elected in 2000 and served in various ministerial roles. There's been a longstanding rumour that he may be appointed as a judge to the Manitoba Court of Appeal. Julie Carmichael, director of communications to Mr. Toews, told The Hill Times last week in an email that her boss is "committed to the critical work of his portfolio, including providing relief to those hardest hit by flooding in Alberta," when asked whether Mr. Toews would be retiring.

      Justice Minister Rob Nicholson, MP for Niagara Falls, Ont.

      Rob Nicholson's office says he will be running again in the 2015 election, but the rumour mill has been swirling that he will retire. At 61 and with almost 20 years as an MP (between 1984 and 1993 and again since 2004), sources say he might want to look for other opportunities. Julie Di Mambro, press secretary to Mr. Nicholson, told The Hill Times that Mr. Nicholson plans to run again in 2015 "and will continue to serve at the pleasure of the Prime Minister."

      Natural Resources Minister Joe Oliver, MP for Eglinton-Lawrence, Ont.

      Joe Oliver, 73, has served as the minister for Natural Resources since he was first elected in 2011. He is said to be well-liked by the Prime Minister, and has demonstrated an ability to stay on message but he will be 75 come the 2015 election, and underwent major heart surgery in January. There has been a good deal of speculation over whether Mr. Oliver will retire, but he has said he intends to run for re-election in 2015 and will serve as the Prime Minister sees fit.

      Government Whip Gordon O'Connor, MP for Carleton-Mississippi Mills, Ont.

      Gordon O'Connor has been at the centre of the backbench "freedom of speech" controversy because of his overly militant style in helping to manage the Conservative caucus. Backbench MPs have privately said moving Mr. O'Connor, 74, out of his chief government whip role would go a long way to quell caucus unrest between them and the PMO. One Conservative source, who did not want to be identified, told The Hill Times that there is "sort of a demand that if you want to try to heal this rift between PMO and caucus, or PMO and the backbench, then a really good, a really positive gesture would be replacing the whip and the House leader." In addition, his age and years of experience lend to speculation over his retirement plans, which his office declined to comment on last week.

      Environment Minister Peter Kent, MP for Thornhill, Ont.

      First elected in 2008, Peter Kent was seen as a star candidate for the Conservative Party, but has since not lived up to expectations. His Parliamentary secretary, Conservative MP Michelle Rempel, continually outshines him on the environment portfolio. He is 70 years old and his retirement has been speculated on for awhile.

      Finance Minister Jim Flaherty, MP for Whitby-Oshawa, Ont.

      Jim Flaherty, 64, has been one of Mr. Harper's longest-serving and trusted Cabinet ministers, but was diagnosed with a skin condition called Bullous Pemphigoid last year, and the necessary medication has had a visible impact on him, leading many to question his political future. Mr. Flaherty's age, his time in Cabinet, and health conditions have all contributed to rumours of his retirement, but he says he intends to stick with Finance until 2015 at which time he hopes the budget will be balanced. In his March budget, Mr. Flaherty said balancing the books is his top priority. Dan Miles, his director of communications, recently told Reuters that his boss has no plans to leave Cabinet. "If the Prime Minister decided, ultimately, that he wants to make a change, that's his prerogative. But at this point, there's nothing to suggest that there's going to be a change," Mr. Miles said on May 28.

      Agriculture Minister Gerry Ritz, MP for Battlefords-Lloydminster, Sask.

      Gerry Ritz, 62, is among the longest-serving of Mr. Harper's Cabinet ministers, and has already scored a big policy victory for the Conservatives with the abolition of the Canadian Wheat Board. Sources say many in the agriculture industry like him and are wondering what his fate will be. Mr. Ritz's press secretary Jeff English told The Hill Times last week that the minister intends to run in 2015, but will serve in Cabinet "at the pleasure of the Prime Minister."

      National Defence Minister Peter MacKay, MP for Central Nova, N.S.

      Peter MacKay, 48, recently got married and had his first child. His changed family status and time in Cabinet has led some to speculate that Mr. MacKay may be looking to retire, but more dominant rumours are that Mr. MacKay will simply be shuffled out of the Defence portfolio. Last week, Mr. MacKay went on the defensive and said he intends to remain active in federal politics and said he'd like to stay on at Defence. As one of the architects of the merged Conservative Party, however, he's likely to be safe at the Cabinet table. It's up to him.

      Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Diane Ablonczy, MP for Calgary-Nose Hill, Alta.

      Diane Ablonczy is 64 years old, is loyal to the Prime Minister and is seen as an effective Cabinet member. She was first elected in 1993 as a Reform MP, however, and is rumoured to be retiring, however, her director of communications Josh Zanin said she intends to run again in 2015.

      Minister of State for Finance Ted Menzies, MP for Macleod, Alta.

      Ted Menzies announced on Tuesday, July 2 in a statement that he will not run in the next federal election and has asked Prime Minister Harper to not consider him for any future Cabinet position. Mr. Menzies, whose Macleod riding was one of the hardest hit by last month's floods in southern Alberta and Calgary, said in a statement that "witnessing the effects of the floods in southern Alberta and the devastation of High River and other communities, I have decided that it is important for me to be here more often." Mr. Menzies said he originally ran for public office because of "a love of community and the desire to help Albertans and Canadians," and want to spend the next two years helping his constituents in Macleod and in Ottawa. Mr. Menzies' announcement was a surprising one.


      The Hill Times

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