Harper Cabinet Shuffle

Prime Minister Harper has expanded his cabinet by nine members from 31 to 38 and, juggled more than a dozen portfolios.

Prince George/Peace River MP Jay Hill has been promoted from government whip, to government house leader. Thus he becomes the Tories unofficial parliamentary general responsible for devising strategies for winning key Common’s votes.

Quebec MP Lawrence Cannon, as expected, got the vacant Foreign Affairs job moving from Transport portfolio, which went to former Environmment Minister, John Baird. His old job went to Jim Prentice, who was unexpectedly moved from Industry. It had been thought Mr. Prentice would retain his job, with the PM opting for stability in his key economic portfoilos, given the current global economic crisis. That was the case with Jim Flaherty, who will continue as Finance Minister but, Tony Clement moved from Health to Industry.

As anticipated, Peter Mckay, retained the Defence portfolio and, among the others holding their posts were Robert Nicholson in Justice, Chuck Strahl in Indian Affairs and. Gary Ritz in Agriculture, despite his jokes that sparked controversy during the listeriosis outbreak.

The number of women in the cabinet has gone from 7 to 11 with three of the newcomers just elected for the first time two weeks ago.

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