Tuesday, July 20, 2004

The West Wants In?
I think John Ibbitson hit on it best this morning - The West and Martin's friends get rewarded while Ontario is taken for granted. Deputy PM, Industry, Finance, Public Safety, and the Treasury Board all come from the West. Wow. This is without a doubt the largest Western representation in a Liberal Cabinet in this country's history.
Another thing which stands out is how experience didn't seem to matter much in the shaping of this Cabinet. David Anderson, who's been around forever and ever is gone, while David Emerson gets tossed into Industry his first month on the job. The turncoats also made out very well. We have an NDP Minister of Health, a Conservative Minister of Public Works and a Bloc Minister of Transport. All the while, long-time Liberals like Don Boudria were once again ignored despite the incredibly large asset he could have been as House Leader in this government.
Here are a few thoughts on the Cabinet:

Stephane Dion is back! One the brightest guys in Ottawa gets a richly deserved Cabinet portfolio. It'll be nice to see him try his hand at something other than Intergovernmental Affairs too although it's interesting to see such a strong Academic wind up in Environment. With Martin all but giving up on Kyoto, this will be an interesting one to watch.
Goodale stays in Finance. Smart move. Keep the stability at the top and give him a bit of time to find his stride in the position.
If Brison had to be let into Cabinet, they likely picked the best spot for him. After all, what's the best way to avoid the appearance of Liberal friendly firms getting benefits from Public Works? Answer: Put a Conservative in the position. Glad to see Dryden get Social Development. And it's good to see McCallum back in an Economic Portfolio after he inexplicably found himself in Veterans Affairs last December.
Tony Valeri as house leader? This one makes no sense to me.
Reg Alcock keeps his position? I know the guy was one of the very few Ministers who did something during the 6 month build-up to the election but, well, what he did wasn't exactly good. Alienating the civil service, mixing up figures on Adscam and threatening opposition members in the house? And Paul sees this and says "good work Reg!". Whatever.
I'm surprised Emerson got Industry right away. I know Paul has a soft spot for businessmen turned politicians but I would have thought they'd try to ease him along. And remember, just as you don't need to be a doctor to be Health Minister, you don't need a business background to run Industry.
Jean Lapierre as Minister of Transport? Oh boy. Hey, I'm not a big Lapierre fan by any means but giving him a big Cabinet portfolio and keeping him as Quebec lieutenant is going to spawn a few hundred quality posts by Paul Wells over the next year in his blog.

 All in all, not a bad Cabinet. I'm still undecided on the whole Graham/Pettigrew shuffle - I like Bill Graham in Defense but I really can't name one good thing Pettigrew has done in any of the 70 portfolios he's held in Cabinet.

UPDATE: Oh, and can someone explain to me why Ujal is such a "star candidate"? I mean, if Ernie Eves decided to run would he be welcomed with such wide arms?


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