What, already? Cabinet shuffle metaspeculation

A cabinet shuffle tomorrow? Really?

With all due respect to Le Devoir, and its no doubt impeccable sources, I can’t quite believe that the Prime Minister is so frantic to push the bishops, knights and Jim Prentice that comprise his current cabinet around the board that he would buck tradition and do so before the summer recess – which is, after all, just four days away. I can’t even remember

the last time we had a non-emergency cabinet shuffle while Parliament was in session. After all, it’s usually preferable to give newly minted (and re-minted) ministers at least a few days to blitz through the briefing books and sit through PowerPoint presentations by deputy and associate deputy ministers before expecting them to effectively fend off opposition attacks in the House.

My theory, not that I have any particular inside knowledge, is that there may, at one point, have been a Tuesday shuffle in the planning stages, but one that rested entirely on Peter Van Loan being able to successfully convince the opposition to let his government off early. When he failed – somewhat spectacularly – to win even the bare majority of support needed to extend the sitting hours for the rest of the session, it would have been painfully obvious to even the most Pollyannaish of House planners that an early adjournment – and a subsequent shuffle – just wasn’t in the cards.

My guess? Next Monday at the earliest, but really, there’s no particular reason why he has to do right this minute – or even the minute the House adjourns. The Maxime Bernier-shaped hole at Foreign Affairs has been filled for the moment by the quietly competent David Emerson, and there are no other major ministerial meltdowns at the moment. He could wait until mid-July or even August to rearrange the furniture. Which would give us reporters that much longer to drive ourselves, and everyone else, crazy with our increasingly esoteric predictions, so really, everybody wins.

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