Thursday, May 26, 2011

Parliamentary secretaries: ministers-in-waiting or consolation prize

Typically, an appointment as a parliamentary secretary can be considered notice that you are a minister-in-waiting or, a consolation prize (and a $15,800 pay boost) for those who are unlikely ever to make it into cabinet. The 28 parliamentary secretaries Prime Minister Stephen Harper has just appointed contains a mix of both.

Two appointees who definitely qualify as ministers-in-waiting are Ajax-Pickering MP Chris Alexander and MP Kellie Leitch, Simcoe-Grey. Chris Alexander, who served as Canada’s first ambassador in Afghanistan, was named in as parliamentary secretary to Defence Minister Peter MacKay. And Kellie Leitch, the pediatrician who defeated former cabinet minister Helena Guergis, becomes parliamentary secretary for both Human Resources and Labour.

Several parliamentary secretaries stay where they were in the previous government, including Deepak Obhrai at Foreign Affairs, Shelly Glover at Minister of Finance, Colin Carrie at Health, Rick Dykstra at Citizenship and Immigration, Randy Kamp at Fisheries and Oceans, Tom Lukiwski in the House Leader’s Office, Mike Lake in Industry, and Pierre Lemieux at Agriculture.

Jacques Gourde, the only Quebec Conservative MP not named to cabinet, is Parliamentary Secretary for Public Works and for Quebec’s economic development agency. While Laurie Hawn has—as the prime minister phrased it—“an important new role as a member of the Treasury Board sub-committee on the Strategic and Operating Review.”

Pierre Poilievre, who served for several years as the prime minister’s parliamentary secretary, moves to Transport, Infrastructure and Communities and the Federal Economic Development Agency for Southern Ontario.

In notably promotions, Dean Del Mastro becomes the prime minister’s parliamentary secretary. And public advocate for scrapping the gun registry, Candice Hoeppner, MP for Portage–Lisgar (Manitoba), becomes Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Public Safety.

The full list of appointments can be found here.

Half of the appointees represent ridings in Ontario, an indication the Conservative party has solid support in central Canada, and no longer must depend as heavily on the West for its talent pool. Prime Minister Stephen Harper has chosen well, and for those left out, there are still parliamentary committee chairmanships to come.


© 2011 Russell G. Campbell
All rights reserved.
The views I express on this blog are my own and do not necessarily represent the views or positions of political parties, institutions or organizations with which I am associated.

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