Harper loses two more cabinet ministers
OTTAWA – Prime Minister Stephen Harper is losing two more cabinet ministers, who announced Friday that they’re not going to run in the federal election that is scheduled for this fall.
International Development MInister Christian Paradis and Heritage Minister Shelly Glover picked the holiday weekend to make low key announcements that they won’t seek re-election.
Paradis said in a statement on his website that the decision was personal.
“After almost a decade of my being on the public stage, it’s time for me to pass on the torch and move on serenely to write a new chapter in our lives,” he said.
Glover cited family reasons as the main factor behind her decision to not run again. In a statement She said she’ll be returning to her career as a police officer.
“I took a break from policing to become a legislator and am proud to have been part of a government that passed over thirty crime and justice bills,” she said.
A source in the Prime Minister’s Office said both ministers will stay in their cabinet jobs until the election and there were no immediate plans for a cabinet shuffle. The PMO tried to minimize the optics of losing two ministers simultaneously saying they recently informed Harper of their decisions and the announcements were coordinated.
Paradis and Glover are not the first members of Stephen Harper’s cabinet to leave in recent months.
Earlier this year John Baird quit as foreign affairs minister in a stunning decision and said he wasn’t running again.
New Democratic Party MP Alexandre Boulerice pointed to the departures as a sign of trouble for the Conservative Party.
“Now with Mr. Paradis and Ms Glover leaving, it’s a team that is weakened, and the sign of a government that’s a bit exhausted,” he said.
A spokeswoman for Liberal leader Justin Trudeau suggested the departures make little difference, making reference to Harper’s reputation for tightly controlling his cabinet.
“In Harper’s government, the only minister who matters is the Prime Minister,” Kate Purchase said in an email.
University of Toronto political science professor Nelson Wiseman says the Conservative party is likely canvassing its members ahead of the election to avoid last-minute surprises.
He says he doesn’t believe the departures will hurt the Conservative party’s chances come fall.
“These are not major cabinet portfolios. These are not major ministers,” he said, adding that Paradis in particular has “not exactly been a shining light.”
He said that attention in federal election campaigns is increasingly focused on party leaders, with their deputies playing a smaller role than they used to.
“Generally cabinet ministers have become less important and these are among the least important,” he said.
Paradis, one of Harper’s small contingent of Quebec MP’s, was first elected in 2006 and held a variety of positions including Minister of Public Works and Government services and the high-profile positions of Industry Minister and was Quebec lieutenant. He was demoted to the less prestigious International Development porfolio in a cabinet shuffle in 2013.
Glover was first elected to the House of Commons in 2008. Last fall, the federal ethics commissioner cleared Glover of breaching the conflict of interest law in connection with a fundraiser earlier in the year.
The Liberals have been targeting Glover’s Winnipeg riding and have expressed high hopes of stealing it from the Conservatives.
By The Canadian Press