Thursday, December 14, 2006

Ambrose Shuffle

It is the custom of government to shuffle the cabinet, if only slightly, about one year after it has been elected. By then, the Prime Minister knows who's performing to expectations, who isn't, and who's exceeding them.

And most governments usually find themselves trailing in the polls after one year, once the honeymoon with the electorate has ended, the first promises have been broken or delayed, and the first scandals erupted.

So it should come as little surprise, with a possible spring election in the offing, that the Tories will be combining the first-year shuffle with the pre-election shuffle:

Cabinet shuffle speculation has risen in the past few days in Ottawa, with Environment Minister Rona Ambrose at the top of the list of who's supposed to be moved or jettisoned.

The arrival of a new minister, according to Conservative sources, would coincide with what's being called a "relaunch" of the Tories' environmental plan, which was widely panned when it was unrolled this fall.

Now that the Commons is on its holiday break until the end of January — it adjourned last night — all political attention in Ottawa is shifting to how Harper wants to make his government election-ready for 2007.

With the Green party surging in the polls and a new Liberal leader, St├ęphane Dion, elected on the strength of a concerted, environmental push within his party, pressure is building on the Harper Conservatives to grapple with a perceived vulnerability on all things green.

Even former prime minister Brian Mulroney, an ally and infrequent adviser to Harper, gave an interview to CBC Radio this week and said the Tories were at risk of letting Liberals run away with the environment issue. Mulroney — named the "greenest prime minister" in a ceremony this year, with the current prime minister at his side — not so subtly said that Harper had to show some improvement on his environmental agenda, because it's important to the middle-class voters the Tories need.


Anyone who questions the orthodoxy of the Kyoto accord, however tentatively, will be damned in the press for heresy. Ambrose could have been the most articulate saleswoman of the Clean Air Act, backed by all the facts and figures, and it wouldn't have made a difference.

Her successor as Environment Minister will face the same pressure: accept Kyoto in its entirety, or else.

Source: Toronto Star

11 comments:

Steve said...

I rather like Rona. I hope she gets another chance. She could have done a much better job with the right people behind her. In fumbling the climate change issue, as much of the blame lies with the PMO as with Rona. So far, they have blown it, notwithstanding the substance of some of their proposals.

Anonymous said...

Kyoto environmentalism is purely a globalist government play. It is the ultimate test of global goverance: the first policy handed down for which all countries are expected to adopt. That is why the pressure is so high on this country that even the old liberal bagman Mulroney is even chiping in here.

Kyoto has squat to do with reducing overall global pollution.

Anonymous said...

"Kyoto environmentalism is purely a globalist government play. It is the ultimate test of global goverance: the first policy handed down for which all countries are expected to adopt. That is why the pressure is so high on this country that even the old liberal bagman Mulroney is even chiping in here.

Kyoto has squat to do with reducing overall global pollution."


It's a global conspiiiirraaaccyyyy!!!! Break out the tinfoil hats boys! Wouldn't want the cappuccino-drinking eastern effetes beaming tree-love into our heads!

Anonymous said...

Honestly, you make it sound as if there is one massive global agency expecting Kyoto to be adopted, lest they unleash some manner of international army and occupy the country. Is it not more reasonable to believe that it is a spectrum of differing and competing expectations, desires and directions coming from ~193 nations, fuelled/suppressed by hundreds of special interest groups?

Fraser said...

Steve, I agree that Rona has not had great people behind her. I got a chance to ask Paul Wells about her, and he said he wasn't sure if this was true, but someone who WOULD know told him that she didn't see the Clean Air Act until the day before it was released to the public. Basically she's been handed a near impossible job and is being asked to be a pretty face trying to sell something she didn't write. Not a great recipe for success. However, a new minister with a clean record would do much better selling the new plan, so I fear she has got to go, perhaps to a lesser portfolio, since Environment is now one of the top portfolios it seems.

Surecure said...

Doesn't the term conspiracy imply that it's a hidden goal? Of course, when Chirac calls Kyoto "the first component of an authentic global governance", you don't really need to address it as if it's a hidden pipe dream.

Not that most wealth redistribution schemes aren't part of a goal of a higher order.

Anonymous said...

MSM & 4 left wing parties were not going to allow the Cons a win on the environment, no way, no how.

Perhaps this file, being huge and the #1 important issue to re-take, PMSH could bring in another minister, an overlap w/natural resources?
The cabinet is small.

Kerry said...

Whether or not you like Ambrose, it's hard not to admit that she was a natural pick for intergovernmental affairs (with her critic experience and background as a policy analyst for both federal and political parties), and that even some of her biggest supporters were left a little confused when she got the environment portfolio.

Anonymous said...

Brian Mulroney is right. The environment is a very big election issue and the perception among a significant group of Canadians is that the conservative government is not doing enough. It is now very critical that they get their Clean Air act passed, even if it means allowing the opposition parties to contribute some off their best ideas to it. If this is not done, the opposition, including the liberals, will own that issue.

Anonymous said...

'It is now very critical that they get their Clean Air act passed'
Jack needs this issue resolved as much as PMSH.

All parties contributing to the Clean Air Act will indeed make it
'Made in Canada'.
Another promise kept.

It's not how you get there, it's that it was done:
Conservative minority government able to get Canadians 2 biggest priorites passed thru parliament in first term of office.
Environment and Accountability!! wilson

Anonymous said...

Give the people there bloody kyoto accord. After all it's only their stand of living that will be affected.
It's time to get cynical and give the trained seals what they want.