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No plans for newly appointed senator to join cabinet, Tory official says

Larry Smith may be on his way to the Senate, but there are no plans for him to join the Conservative cabinet, a Conservative official says.

After Stephen Harper appointed the former CFL commissioner and Montreal Alouettes president to the Senate on Monday, there was media speculation that Mr. Smith could be appointed to cabinet as part of a shuffle planned for early January.

When he was first elected prime minister in 2006, Mr. Harper employed a similar strategy with Michael Fortier, who then failed in his bid to win a seat in the House of Commons.

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While Mr. Smith does appear poised to run for Parliament - he is scheduled to address the Lac-Saint-Louis riding association Tuesday evening - a Conservative government official said there were no plans to bring Mr. Smith into cabinet.

Members of the Conservative riding association say the event will feature a "big announcement."

They say several cabinet ministers and senators will be on hand for Mr. Smith's speech.

The Conservative official referred to comments Mr. Harper made after the 2008 election, saying he no longer intended to appoint ministers from the Senate.

The official also stressed that the January cabinet shuffle promised by Mr. Harper will be narrow and focused, rather than a major rearrangement of the executive council.

With a report from The Canadian Press

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