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Highlights: Harper unveils new cabinet Live

Here are highlights from CPAC's online coverage of Monday's cabinet announcement.

Prime Minister Stephen Harper first told Canadians of the changes via Twitter. For example:

Harper had pledged today on Twitter that Canadians could expect eight new faces, including four women, in cabinet.Andrew ThomsonJul 15, 2013 at 10:19 AM

The changes were announced as the new cabinet arrived at the governor general's residence in Ottawa:

Here's the full list:

From the Prime Minister's Office, the full ministry:

The Right Honourable Stephen Joseph Harper
Prime Minister

The Honourable Bernard Valcourt
Minister of Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development

The Honourable Robert Douglas Nicholson
Minister of National Defence

The Honourable Peter Gordon MacKay
Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada

The Honourable Rona Ambrose
Minister of Health

The Honourable Diane Finley
Minister of Public Works and Government Services

The Honourable John Baird
Minister of Foreign Affairs

The Honourable Tony Clement
President of the Treasury Board

The Honourable James Michael Flaherty
Minister of Finance

The Honourable Peter Van Loan
Leader of the Government in the House of Commons

The Honourable Jason Kenney
Minister of Employment and Social Development

The Honourable Gerry Ritz
Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food

The Honourable Christian Paradis
Minister of International Development and Minister for La Francophonie

The Honourable James Moore
Minister of Industry

The Honourable Denis Lebel
Minister of Infrastructure, Communities and Intergovernmental Affairs and Minister of the Economic Development Agency of Canada for the Regions of Quebec

The Honourable Leona Aglukkaq
Minister of the Environment, Minister of the Canadian Northern Economic Development Agency and Minister for the Arctic Council

The Honourable Lisa Raitt
Minister of Transport

The Honourable Gail Shea
Minister of Fisheries and Oceans

The Honourable Julian Fantino
Minister of Veterans Affairs

The Honourable Steven Blaney
Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness

The Honourable Edward Fast
Minister of International Trade

The Honourable Joe Oliver
Minister of Natural Resources

The Honourable Kerry-Lynne D. Findlay
Minister of National Revenue

The Honourable Shelly Glover
Minister of Canadian Heritage and Official Languages

The Honourable Chris Alexander
Minister of Citizenship and Immigration

The Honourable Kellie Leitch
Minister of Labour and Minister of Status of Women

The Honourable Maxime Bernier
Minister of State (Small Business and Tourism, and Agriculture)

The Honourable Lynne Yelich
Minister of State (Foreign Affairs and Consular)

The Honourable Gary Goodyear
Minister of State (Federal Economic Development Agency for Southern Ontario)

The Honourable Rob Moore
Minister of State (Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency)

The Honourable John Duncan
Minister of State and Chief Government Whip

The Honourable Tim Uppal
Minister of State (Multiculturalism)

The Honourable Alice Wong
Minister of State (Seniors)

The Honourable Bal Gosal
Minister of State (Sport)

The Honourable Kevin Sorenson
Minister of State (Finance)

The Honourable Pierre Poilievre
Minister of State (Democratic Reform)

The Honourable Candice Bergen
Minister of State (Social Development)

The Honourable Greg Rickford
Minister of State (Science and Technology, and Federal Economic Development Initiative for Northern Ontario)

The Honourable Michelle Rempel
Minister of State (Western Economic Diversification)
Andrew ThomsonJul 15, 2013 at 11:19 AM

The prime minister is solely responsible for determining his or her cabinet and determining how to achieve geographic, linguistic, gender, and ethnic balance. Each province is ideally represented, although caucus membership and election results can force alternative arrangements. Peter Penashue's resignation and by-election defeat left the Conservatives without any MPs in Newfoundland and Labrador. Andrew ThomsonJul 15, 2013 at 11:08 AM

The Governor General than approves the choices and appoints them as ministers of the Crown.

Here’s what the Constitution Act of 1867 says:


9. The Executive Government and Authority of and over Canada is hereby declared to continue and be vested in the Queen.

10. The Provisions of this Act referring to the Governor General extend and apply to the Governor General for the Time being of Canada, or other the Chief Executive Officer or Administrator for the Time being carrying on the Government of Canada on behalf and in the Name of the Queen, by whatever Title he is designated.

11. There shall be a Council to aid and advise in the Government of Canada, to be styled the Queen's Privy Council for Canada; and the Persons who are to be Members of that Council shall be from Time to Time chosen and summoned by the Governor General and sworn in as Privy Councillors, and Members thereof may be from Time to Time removed by the Governor General.
Andrew ThomsonJul 15, 2013 at 11:09 AM

The prime minister is solely responsible for determining his or her cabinet and determining how to achieve geographic, linguistic, gender, and ethnic balance. Each province is ideally represented, although caucus membership and election results can force alternative arrangements. Peter Penashue's resignation and by-election defeat left the Conservatives without any MPs in Newfoundland and Labrador. Andrew ThomsonJul 15, 2013 at 11:08 AM

The original federal departments at the time of Confederation in 1867: Finance, Agriculture, Penitentiary Service (now part of Public Safety), the Post Office (Canada Post is now part of the transport minister’s portfolio), Public Works, the Privy Council Office, and the Secretary of State.Andrew ThomsonJul 15, 2013 at 11:41 AM

Officially speaking, the cabinet is a committee of the Queen's Privy Council for Canada.

From House of Commons Procedure and Practice:

"Originally, the Privy Council was a more or less permanent executive body of nobles chosen by the Sovereign as counsellors. The Council was separate from the legislative body, or Parliament, of which the Sovereign was a constituent part. When the Council became too large for the practical purpose of consultation, the Sovereign selected from among its members his or her most trusted and intimate counsellors. The practice of forming from the larger group of privy councillors a small, specialized committee to advise the Crown has continued to this day."Andrew ThomsonJul 15, 2013 at 11:11 AM
Responsible government means that members of the executive must be accountable to the House of Commons. By custom, ministers are MPs (with the exception of the government leader in Senate). Effectively, the party controlling the Commons controls the cabinet. Michael Fortier was named public works minister for Harper’s cabinet in 2006 despite not being an MP or a Senator. Fortier was appointed to the Senate and promised to run for a Commons seat, which he did unsuccessfully in 2008.

Another example was Gen. Andrew McNaughton, who was wartime defence minister in 1944-45 but resigned after two unsuccessful election campaigns. Andrew ThomsonJul 15, 2013 at 11:16 AM

The NDP will react to the new cabinet at a 2pmET news conference. Here is a statement from Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau:

“Today’s Cabinet shuffle will not provide Canadians with the real change they want to see. It is clear that the only Minister who has any power in this government is the Prime Minister. Today’s shuffle does not change that.

Canadians elected Members of Parliament to represent their views in Ottawa, but under the Harper Conservatives, they have had Ottawa’s views imposed on them.

Mr. Harper is clearly satisfied with his government's performance. We are not. We think that the worst record on economic growth since the 1930s is nothing to be happy about. Canadians deserve better.

The Liberal Party of Canada believes in making Parliament more democratic and more representative of Canadians. That is why during the leadership campaign I put forward a comprehensive democratic reform package, and why we recently introduced our ‘Open Parliament’ plan that will bring increased accountability and transparency to Parliament. Our proposals will lessen the power concentrated in the hands of the Prime Minister and his unelected advisors, and put it back where it belongs: in the hands of the people’s representatives.

Unlike Mr. Harper and his government, I will continue to reach out and meet with Canadians as we work together to raise the bar on openness and transparency, restore the strength of the middle class and bring real, positive change to Canada.


« Le remaniement ministériel d’aujourd’hui n’offrira pas le véritable changement que les Canadiens veulent. C’est clair que le seul ministre qui a du pouvoir dans ce gouvernement est le premier ministre. Le remaniement d’aujourd’hui n’y change rien.

Les Canadiens ont voté pour des députés qui représenteraient leurs points de vue à Ottawa, mais sous les conservateurs de Harper, ils se retrouvent avec des représentants d’Ottawa dans leur circonscription.

M. Harper est manifestement satisfait de la performance de son gouvernement. Nous ne le sommes pas. Nous estimons qu’avoir enregistré le pire bilan en matière de croissance économique depuis les années 1930 n’a rien de réjouissant. Les Canadiens méritent mieux.

Le Parti libéral du Canada croit qu’il est possible pour le Parlement d’être plus démocratique et plus représentatif de tous les Canadiens. C’est pourquoi j’ai mis de l’avant une proposition de réforme démocratique durant la campagne au leadership et que nous avons présenté dernièrement notre programme « Parlement ouvert » qui favorisent la responsabilisation et la transparence du Parlement. Nos propositions réduisent la concentration des pouvoirs présentement dans les mains du premier ministre et de ses conseillers non élus pour la remettre là où elle doit être : dans les mains des représentants de la population.

Contrairement à M. Harper et à son gouvernement, je continuerai d’établir un contact avec les Canadiens et de les rencontrer afin que nous puissions travailler ensemble pour favoriser plus d’ouverture et de transparence, rétablir la force de la classe moyenne et apporter un véritable changement positif au Canada. »Andrew ThomsonJul 15, 2013 at 11:54 AM

Here's some background on cabinet committees, courtesy of Library and Archives Canada:

“A reorganization took place in 1964 and most ad hoc committees were replaced by nine standing Cabinet committees each with their own secretariat. In 1968, Prime Minister Trudeau converted the Privy Council Office into a more businesslike operation by reducing the number of Cabinet committees and providing for more regular meetings.

"He delegated certain powers from the full Cabinet to committees themselves. All Ministers, whether committee members or not, received committee documents and were granted permission to have an item dealt with by committee discussed in the full Cabinet.

"Under a reorganization of 1968, four coordinating committees and five specialized committees were established and three main divisions were created and the Privy Council Office received program policy proposals in the form of submissions to Cabinet. When a decision was made, it was recorded and when it was approved by Cabinet, it was forwarded to the responsible department.
Andrew ThomsonJul 15, 2013 at 12:04 PM

Here's the membership on the cabinet committee on priorities and planning: Harper (chair), Flaherty (Vice-chair), Valcourt, Nicholson, MacKay, Ambrose, Finley, Baird, Clement, Kenney, Ritz, Paradis, Moore, Lebel, Fast, and Glover.Andrew ThomsonJul 15, 2013 at 12:40 PM

Priorities and Planning is considered the key committee:

“In 1979, under Prime Minister Clark, an ‘Inner Cabinet’ was set up with final decision making authority and the role of the full Cabinet was limited to discussion and coordination. Clark also set up the Policy Expenditure Management System which previewed expenditure priorities and reallocated resources within departments.

“In 1980, under Prime Minister Trudeau, the Priorities and Planning Committee, which included the chair of all Cabinet committees, and therefore dealt with a wide range of issues, assumed the responsibility for the Inner Cabinet and had authority to take final decisions in the same way as the Cabinet itself.”
Andrew ThomsonJul 15, 2013 at 12:05 PM

Jason Kenney chairs the operations committee, with Paradis as vice-chair. Other members: Van Loan, Aglukkaq, Raitt, shea, Blaney, Oliver, Alexander, Leitch, Duncan, Gosal, Poilievre, and Bergen.Andrew ThomsonJul 15, 2013 at 12:41 PM

Diane Finley chairs the economic prosperity committee, with Moore as vice-chair. Members: Flaherty, Ritz, Lebel, Raitt, Shea, Fast, Oliver, Findlay, Leitch, Goodyear, Moore, Sorenson, Rickford, and Rempel.Andrew ThomsonJul 15, 2013 at 12:44 PM

Rona Ambrose chairs the cabinet social affairs committee, with Valcourt as vice-chair. Members: MacKay, Kenney, Aglukkaq, Fantino, Blaney, Glover, Alexander, Bernier, Uppal, Wong, Gosal, Poilievre, and Bergen.Andrew ThomsonJul 15, 2013 at 12:43 PM

Peter MacKay chairs the foreign affairs and security committee, with Nicholson as vice-chair. Members: Baird, Van Loan, Paradis, Fantino, Blaney, Fast, Alexander, Yelich, and Wong.Andrew ThomsonJul 15, 2013 at 12:45 PM

The Treasury Board now comprises Clement, Fantino, Flaherty, Van Loan, Findlay, and Leitch.Andrew ThomsonJul 15, 2013 at 12:42 PM

Harper: new government program to be outlined this fall in a Speech from the Throne. (This means Parliament will have to be prorogued)Andrew ThomsonJul 15, 2013 at 1:10 PM


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