The biggest news, of course, is that Rona Ambrose has been shifted to intergovernmental affairs and pitbull John Baird ('Mr Fix-It') is now the environment minister - all set to take on Stephane Dion. What a mismatch that is. Baird will try to blast his way through pushing the tory's non-agenda on the environment by yelling as loudly as he can while the Liberals will have an actual workable plan to present to the people who have now made the environment our number one concern. Who's likely to win that battle? The bully or the policy wonk?
Other changes among ministers include:
* Rob Nicholson: from House leader to justice minister and attorney general.
* Vic Toews: from justice minister to president of the Treasury Board.
* Monte Solberg: from Immigration to Human Resources and Social Development.
* Peter Van Loan: from Intergovernmental Affairs and sport to government House leader and democratic reform minister.
* Diane Finley: from Human Resources to Citizenship and Immigration.
The Globe & Mail has more details about the current cabinet. Prior rumours about MacKay and defence minister O'Connor being shuffled have not been borne out as they've both retained their posts.
Naive quote du jour:
“I wouldn't call it an election cabinet. I'm not planning to call an election,” Mr. Harper said.
Telling it like it is quote du jour:
“Mr. Baird is a parliamentarian who speaks very loudly we have seen. A lawyer, and he is quite adversarial in my opinion, but we'll see with time how he answers questions in the House of Commons. Often he has a lot of ideas but he says nothing,” Mr. Guimond [Bloc Québécois house whip and parliamentary affairs critic] said.
Update: Stephane Dion's reaction
Liberal Leader Stéphane Dion dismissed Stephen Harper's cabinet shuffle Thursday as a "game of musical chairs" that couldn't change the one position that mattered most — the one at the top.
"The problem is the prime minister," Dion said...
Dion also slammed the choice of Baird — who is known for his aggressive style in the House — as a personality too "outrageous" and "adversarial" to build bridges across parties to reach an accord on the environment.
"It's too important to be partisan," Dion said of the climate change issue, which was a key component of his platform in the recent Liberal leadership race.
Dion also singled out Health Minister Tony Clement and Status of Women Minister Bev Oda as two ministers he says have failed in their portfolios and should have been replaced.
I'm certainly with Dion on the uselessness of Clement and Oda as well.