Cabinet shuffle: Toronto gets a seat in Harper’s new government—and it’s not even a token

Cabinet shuffle: Toronto gets a seat in Harper’s new government—and it’s not even a token

Joe Oliver is almost as happy to be in the Harper cabinet as Rocco Rossi is to wear his flashy new shirt (Image: Rocco Rossi)

Good news, Toronto: Prime Minister Stephen Harper announced his new cabinet this morning and, for the first time since 2006, the 416 proper will have an elected MP on the ruling government’s front benches (in fairness, it’s also the first time since 2006 that the city actually elected an MP who sat on the government side of the House). Joe Oliver, Member of Parliament for Eglinton-Lawrence, is the new minister of natural resources, and while it’s a bit of an odd fit—Toronto isn’t exactly known for mining or forestry—we’re willing to concede that point, since one cabinet member is probably better than none.

From the Toronto Star:

The bilingual investment dealer, one of several Conservatives who made a breakthrough win in Toronto, was vaulted to the government’s front benches in Wednesday’s cabinet shuffle.

Other Toronto-area MPs also got significant promotions. Brampton MP Bal Gosal, who beat a Liberal MP in Bramalea-Gore-Malton, gets minister of state for sport. And Vaughan MP Julian Fantino, now minister of state for seniors, becomes the junior defence minister.

Having an uptown MP in the cabinet, not to mention one in such a powerful post, could mean any number of things for the city. Money for subways, as Rob Ford has hinted? A more pro-city agenda for the Conservatives? Or maybe bringing subways to mining towns and lumber mills, just to thoroughly confuse everyone? We suspect the real answers will actually be more along the lines of: (a) the prime minister keeps calling the shots; (b) Toronto is finally represented among the MPs cheering his every word at Question Period; and (c) that’s all.

GTA MPs promoted in federal cabinet shuffle [Toronto Star]
New faces, but stability key as Harper shuffles cabinet [CBC]
Baird vaults into Foreign Affairs in new, ‘stable’ Harper cabinet [Globe and Mail]