Wednesday, January 5, 2011

The Big Deal In Harper's Cabinet Shuffle

One wouldn't expect the Toronto Star to show much love for the Prime Minister's new ministers, and they don't. Yet the addition of Julian Fantino and Peter Kent in social portfolios are striking for one big reason.

It is essentially a clear declaration that the HarperCons now believe the next 15 seats...the seats that deliver a MAJORITY...lie in the GTA. Just as strikingly on the national unity file, it is an admission that those seats will not be found in Quebec. After years of promoting every Quebec MP who might meet the criteria for a Harper cabinet ( Can you shut up? Now can you read this text without improvising?), now it is Toronto's turn. It seems Quebec's social liberalism finally did in the Harper dreams, and that arts cuts and locking up kids ticked Quebeckers off more than Harper's decentralist tendencies drew them in.

Clearly, Harper is serious about going after Toronto hearts in the wake of the Ford boomlet. He even allowed Kent to acknowledge that global warming is real. Of course, the demographic ministers (as we call those elevated to cabinet because they represent a group targeted for HarperCon growth) haven't always had a long shelf life, from Bernier to Raitt to Guergis. We shall see, as we inevitably do.

In the meantime, federal Liberals may want to try something new with Harper making a play for their bastion and his attempt to move to the center. Some would try developing policies which are clearly and distinctly liberal, however, they may have something else in mind.

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