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Canada: Stephen Harper Expected to Give Cabinet a Makeover with ‘Fresh, Younger’ Talent
Source: vancouversun.com
Source Date: Sunday, July 07, 2013
Focus: Institution and HR Management
Country: Canada
Created: Jul 08, 2013

OTTAWA — Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s move to give his government a makeover at the midway point of its majority mandate is fast approaching, with a widely anticipated major cabinet shuffle likely to occur very soon.
 
The shuffle will likely see Harper bring some new blood into cabinet and assemble the team of ministers that will sell the government’s message in the next two years, leading up to the next federal election.
 
Numerous signs of an impending shuffle emerged last week. Veteran Alberta MPs Ted Menzies and Diane Ablonczy announced they would not run for re-election in 2015, effectively removing themselves from cabinet consideration and signalling probable removals from the minister of state portfolios.
 
On Friday, Environment Minister Peter Kent said in a Facebook note that while he plans to run again in 2015, he would “enthusiastically embrace” a role as a backbench MP if he were shuffled out of cabinet.
 
Multiple reports have said Public Safety Minister Vic Toews will soon announce his retirement from politics. And Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird returned earlier than expected from a visit to China last week.
 
A shuffle could see a number of senior cabinet members moved out of their posts, either to new jobs within cabinet or outside altogether. Younger faces, such as MPs Michelle Rempel, Chris Alexander, Kellie Leitch and Pierre Poilievre, currently in parliamentary secretary roles, have been named in speculation as possible candidates for promotions.
 
The shuffle will show some of the faces that will be selling the government’s agenda over the next two years, said Tim Powers, vice-president at Summa Strategies and  a Conservative strategist.
 
“It’s like putting a coat of new paint on the government, which isn’t a bad thing,” he said. “This will be about a government that’s going on the offence a little bit with what they will try to characterize … as positive news, in light of everything else.”
 
Among other things, the government will see to play up the youth of some of the new cabinet appointees and contrast them with new, popular Liberal leader Justin Trudeau, he said.
 
“You’re going to see newer, younger people come into the fore,” Powers said. “Any good organization should be able to grow and bring forward talent from within, and that talent will be cast as fresh and as energetic as the Liberal leader.”
 
Harper made no mention of the shuffle in a speech at the annual Stampede barbecue in Calgary on Saturday. In the speech, he attacked the two opposition parties, saying their agendas would weaken Canada internationally and put Alberta at the “very bottom of their pecking order.”
 
NDP leader Tom Mulcair has likened the expected cabinet shuffle to Harper “shuffling the deck chairs on the Titanic.”

(By Michael Woods)

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