Skip to main content
The Globe and Mail
Support Quality Journalism
The Globe and Mail
First Access to Latest
Investment News
Collection of curated
e-books and guides
Inform your decisions via
Globe Investor Tools
Just$1.99
per week
for first 24 weeks

Enjoy unlimited digital access
Enjoy Unlimited Digital Access
Get full access to globeandmail.com
Just $1.99 per week for the first 24 weeks
Just $1.99 per week for the first 24 weeks
var select={root:".js-sub-pencil",control:".js-sub-pencil-control",open:"o-sub-pencil--open",closed:"o-sub-pencil--closed"},dom={},allowExpand=!0;function pencilInit(o){var e=arguments.length>1&&void 0!==arguments[1]&&arguments[1];select.root=o,dom.root=document.querySelector(select.root),dom.root&&(dom.control=document.querySelector(select.control),dom.control.addEventListener("click",onToggleClicked),setPanelState(e),window.addEventListener("scroll",onWindowScroll),dom.root.removeAttribute("hidden"))}function isPanelOpen(){return dom.root.classList.contains(select.open)}function setPanelState(o){dom.root.classList[o?"add":"remove"](select.open),dom.root.classList[o?"remove":"add"](select.closed),dom.control.setAttribute("aria-expanded",o)}function onToggleClicked(){var l=!isPanelOpen();setPanelState(l)}function onWindowScroll(){window.requestAnimationFrame(function() {var l=isPanelOpen(),n=0===(document.body.scrollTop||document.documentElement.scrollTop);n||l||!allowExpand?n&&l&&(allowExpand=!0,setPanelState(!1)):(allowExpand=!1,setPanelState(!0))});}pencilInit(".js-sub-pencil",!1); // via darwin-bg var slideIndex = 0; carousel(); function carousel() { var i; var x = document.getElementsByClassName("subs_valueprop"); for (i = 0; i < x.length; i++) { x[i].style.display = "none"; } slideIndex++; if (slideIndex> x.length) { slideIndex = 1; } x[slideIndex - 1].style.display = "block"; setTimeout(carousel, 2500); }

Part of the new federal cabinet on July 15, 2013 at Rideau Hall in Ottawa. Dave Chan for The Globe and Mail.

DAVE CHAN/The Globe and Mail

Prime Minister Stephen Harper declared on Monday that the reshaping of the federal cabinet has initiated a "generational change." That may well turn out to be true, but the apparent premise behind the way in which the shuffle was done is that rejuvenation of the government can only be achieved at the price of having too large a cabinet, which is now back up to the historical peak of 39 members – considerably larger than most elementary-school classes. It is not a realistic size for a genuinely deliberative, decision-making body.

The shuffle did indeed include a number of promising and desirable promotions, but one-third of the new cabinet are ministers of state, most of whom are not in charge of a department. The upshot will be a heavy reliance on the major cabinet committees, and a continuing concentration of power in the hands of Mr. Harper and his upper staff.

Leona Aglukkaq's promotion is one of the welcome changes. She proved to be an effective chair of the international Arctic Council this year, while she was still the minister of health. As a native of the Arctic and the MP for Nunavut, she is in an excellent position as Minister of the Environment to strike a balance between the protection of sensitive environments and economic development.

Story continues below advertisement

James Moore has been an effective minister in the Commons, but the Department of Industry will truly test his abilities. This government has not handled foreign-investment policy well; it remains murky. Investors, both foreign and domestic, have been cast into uncertainty. Major challenges are coming in the wireless and telecom sectors. Mr. Moore must find ways to prepare himself.

A new cabinet minister, Chris Alexander was rightly promoted. As Minister of Immigration, he will be able to apply his deep knowledge of international affairs in a field that raises a wide range of fraught issues.

The move of his predecessor, Jason Kenney, to Employment and Social Development, might not look like a promotion, but the choice of such a senior, capable and articulate minister is an encouraging signal that the federal government will work seriously to co-operate with the provinces on job training, as the 2013 budget promised.

Mr. Harper presented the shuffle as a combination of "steady hands" with "new opportunities" for younger MPs, but 39 ministers are too many. Most "ministers of state" could gain their experience as parliamentary secretaries. Title inflation is a real problem. A cabinet should not be a town hall. It should govern.

Report an error Editorial code of conduct
Due to technical reasons, we have temporarily removed commenting from our articles. We hope to have this fixed soon. Thank you for your patience. If you are looking to give feedback on our new site, please send it along to feedback@globeandmail.com. If you want to write a letter to the editor, please forward to letters@globeandmail.com.

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to letters@globeandmail.com. Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to letters@globeandmail.com. Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff.

We aim to create a safe and valuable space for discussion and debate. That means:

  • Treat others as you wish to be treated
  • Criticize ideas, not people
  • Stay on topic
  • Avoid the use of toxic and offensive language
  • Flag bad behaviour

Comments that violate our community guidelines will be removed.

Read our community guidelines here

Discussion loading ...

To view this site properly, enable cookies in your browser. Read our privacy policy to learn more.
How to enable cookies