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(Adrian Wyld)
(Adrian Wyld)

Fresh faces: Who's new in Stephen Harper's cabinet Add to ...

There will be nine new faces around the federal cabinet table, some of them belonging to people who are sitting in the House of Commons for the first time and others who have been fixtures in Parliament since Stephen Harper first won government six years ago.

Toronto MP Joe Oliver, an investment banker who beat veteran Liberal Joe Volpe in Eglinton-Lawrence, has been handed the biggest portfolio to go to a newcomer. He will take over at Natural Resources from Christian Paradis who is moving to Industry.

Peter Penashue, the Labrador MP who is the only Conservative to win a seat in his province, will take over the tricky job of Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs - as the federal government anticipates a new and challenging round of health talks with the provinces. Mr. Penashue, a former president of the Innu Nation, is the first Innu to be elected to Parliament.

British Columbia MP Ed Fast, who has occupied a seat on the Conservative backbench since 2006, gets a plum job as Minister of International Trade and Minister for the Asia Pacific gateway. Mr. Fast is a lawyer who was a municipal councillor in the town of Abbotsford.

Steven Blaney - from Lévis-Bellechase, across the river from Quebec City, and first elected in 2006 - gets his first cabinet post, at Veterans Affairs. Mr. Blaney is a civil engineer and was regularly called upon by the Conservatives to speak for the government, even when he was not in cabinet.

The remainder of the new appointees received relatively junior minister-of-state portfolios.

Maxime Bernier, the former foreign minister who was ejected from cabinet in 2008 after leaving secret documents at the home of a girlfriend with ties to the Hells Angels, returns as Minister of State for Small Business and Tourism. Mr. Bernier is a former vice-president of Standard Life of Canada and remains popular in his riding despite his fall from grace. He is also one of just five Conservative MPs elected in Quebec.

Bernard Valcourt from Madawaska-Restigouche in New Brunswick, who was a Conservative MP during the Brian Mulroney years, has been named Minister of State for the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency and La Francophonie. Mr. Valcourt held several cabinet posts during his previous political life, including minister of consumer and corporate affairs, minister of fisheries and oceans, minister of employment and immigration, and minister of labour. He was defeated in 1993 and entered provincial politics, becoming the leader of New Brunswick's Progressive Conservative Party.

Tim Uppal, who was first elected in Edmonton-Sherwood in 2008, has been given the job of Minister of State for Democratic Reform.

Alice Wong, from the Richmond riding in British Columbia, becomes Minister of State for Seniors. Ms. Wong, who has held her seat for three years, has been a quiet Member of Parliament.

Bal Gosal, the commercial insurance broker who defeated veteran Liberal Gurbax Malhi in the Toronto suburb of Bramalea-Gore-Malton, will take over as Minister of State for Sport.

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