Cabinet shuffles

Harper gives 10 Conservatives new portfolios

Three weeks after proroguing Parliament, Prime Minister Stephen Harper has shuffled his cabinet, giving new portfolios to 10 members of his party. Vic Toews is now public safety minister, Stockwell Day is president of the Treasury Board and Peter Van Loan has taken over the international trade portfolio in a three-way trade. Three other senior ministers also changed positions, with Christian Paradis moving to natural resources, Rona Ambrose to public works and Lisa Raitt to labour. Day’s move is seen as a promotion, revealing that the prime minister is putting more trust in the former Alberta finance minister, whereas Raitt’s shift is considered to be a demotion resulting from her controversial time as natural resources minister. Less high-profile changes include Diane Ablonczy becoming minister of state for seniors, New Brunswick MPs Keith Ashfield and Rob Moore taking over the national revenue and state small business and tourism portfolios, respectively, and Jean-Pierre Blackburn becoming the minister of veterans affairs. A government spokesperson says the shuffle is meant to give ministers a chance to adjust to their new jobs before Parliament’s resumption on March 3.

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