...all of the shouting about David Emerson has obscured some of the more interesting cabinet choices and omissions, good, bad, and ugly.
Peter MacKay is a curious choice for Foreign Affairs, as he has demonstrated little interest in the position before, and his propensity to shoot his mouth off might cause problems on the world stage.
As best I can figure, Stephen Harper had a delicate balancing act with the justice, public safety and foreign affairs portfolios and their expected holders (Vic Toews, MacKay, and Stockwell Day). The media and Red Tories were screaming doomsday predictions if Toews got Justice and Day got Foreign Affairs; Harper could chance one of the two serving in Cabinet in their critics' positions, but not both. MacKay seemed a better fit for Justice or Public Safety, but once Toews got Justice, Day had to get Public Safety, and that left MacKay in his unexpected new role.
Defence lobbyists will be cheering at the news of Gordon O'Connor's appointment to National Defence.
The Harris team rises again with Jim Flaherty at Finance, Tony Clement at Health and John Baird at Treasury Board. People complaining about the rise of the Red Tories should take heart at these appointments.
Anyone else notice that Quebec now has three of the biggest pork barrel departments: Public Works & Government Services (Michael Fortier), Industry (Maxime Bernier) and Transport (Lawrence Cannon)? Politics as usual, but that's the price of doing business in Quebec. As long as you're not too odious about it.
Monte Solberg was never going to get Finance, but it's surprising to see that he's getting Immigration. Surely we could have lured Joe Volpe across the floor because of his unequalled experience and understanding of immigration issues and the irreplaceable Toronto perspective?
One appointment that should have floored people: Marjory LeBreton as Government Leader in the Senate. She was one of the loudest voices against the PC-Alliance merger. Almost as shrill as Joe Clark and Sinclair Stevens. And she found a way to make peace with Stephen Harper and his leadership.
A lot of surprise expressed about the exclusion of Diane Ablonczy and Jason Kenney, but four Calgary MPs in Cabinet would have been politically impossible, and Jim Prentice's expertise in Indian land claims is indispensible.
Three Ontario MPs who didn't make the cut could very well have: Garth Turner, Peter Van Loan and Guy Lauzon. Turner did serve in Kim Campbell's cabinet for about five minutes, but he's had his own ethical problems from his days running thinly-disguised stock-touting infomercials on Millennium Media Television . Van Loan would have been a prime asset as a former PC Party president with Toronto connections, and Lauzon would have been at least a valuable token as the traditional francophone outside Quebec.
Except for the two stinkers, a reasonably good Cabinet.