View From the Hill. By Keith Beardsley – New Cabinet, Same Trudeau 112219 #cdnpoli

When does 35+2= 0

That isn’t new math, that is the sum total of Trudeau’s new cabinet.

Adding two extra ministers hasn’t helped a bit and the deadwood remains, maybe shuffled around a bit, but still there.

Let’s look at 3 examples:

Mona Fortier is the new Minister of Middle Class Prosperity. Now there is a real BS title if I ever heard of one. Does silver spoon Trudeau even know who makes up the middle class?

Does the government have a precise definition of the middle class or will it be whatever number they want on a Monday, a different number on Tuesday and another on Wednesday and so on. A quick Google search asking “what is the definition of the middle class in Canada” brought up 99,200,000 hits. In other words, it can be whatever PMO wants it to be. Will her job be to teach “middle class” people how to drive lawn tractors? No one knows and the government doesn’t know either.

Next, we have Seamus O’Regan. Buddy of the PM and our new Minister of Natural Resources.  There is good news and bad news here. The bad news is that his ministerial track record is pretty dismal. He couldn’t talk to our veterans and screwed up that portfolio and he early on had issues with his last post as Minister of Indigenous Services. The good news is he is now in charge of trees, rocks and minerals and they won’t be talking back to him.

Last but not least we have Chrystia Freeland. Wasn’t all the hype around her potential appointment as Deputy Minister and Intergovernmental Affairs fun to read. No one else got that treatment from the press. But, let us not forget her former occupation as a journalist with The Globe and Mail, The Financial Times etc. She is a very bright person, but in the long run all that hype by journalists for one of their own may not have helped her, especially with any leadership aspirations.

Let’s take a look at the Intergovernmental Affairs part first. The real minister of that department (one of the smallest in the government) is the Prime Minister, IE Trudeau or in realty his sidekick Gerald Butts. It is a good place to put a minister who is getting to big or who PMO thinks might have leadership ambitions. The PM sets the tone with the provinces, PMO writes the script and the minister carries it out always knowing that the PM must always get the credit. From PMO’s perspective it is a great place to put her and she gets the negative press, not the PM, when provincial issues blow up.

The Deputy Prime Minister role can be important if the PM and the gang in PMO want that to happen. If not, it becomes a lot less important and a potential trap for those with leadership ambitions. We all know how Trudeau dislikes showing up for Question Period- guess who his replacement will be? Guess who has to stand up and defend unpopular government policies or who has to stand and take it day after day when a government scandal breaks? The DPM can become pretty unpopular fast.

All of the new ministers have yet to show up for Question Period, when they do, we will get to see who is ready for prime time.

Leave a Reply