Monday, July 15, 2013

Cabinet Shuffle: MacKay and Ambrose out, could this mean a change?

Peter MacKay and Rona Ambrose announcing the "Reset".
In today's Cabinet Shuffle, two of the most influential people in choosing Canada's next jet fighter saw themselves transferred to different departments and different responsibilities.  Peter MacKay, former Minister of Defense, is Canada's new Justice Minister.  Rona Ambrose, formerly in charge of Public Works, is now Canada's Minister of Health.

Looking for the eject button?

Peter MacKay himself has undergone the brunt of Canada's F-35 controversy, not to mention a controversial ride in a Cormorant helicopter.  It hasn't been an easy job by any means, with added delays to the Cyclone helicopter, service personnel needing to take extra jobs to pay bills, not to mention operations in Afghanistan.

It's important to remember that, while he may have been the "face" of the Canada's Department of National Defense, MacKay is not the sole person to blame for any issues faced by Canada's DND, both real and imagined.  The department itself is huge, with plenty of bureaucrats and upper echelon military types running most of the show behind the scenes.   Many of these people were likely in place before MacKay got there, and will likely stay long after he leaves.


Also, as much as MacKay's ill-advised Cormorant ride has provided material for both opposition MPs and editorial cartoonists alike, I don't believe he deserves the criticism.  I have certainly heard about military equipment being used for far more frivolous things, and his ride likely brought him closer to the members of the Canadian Armed Forces and allowed him to get a better perspective of those working in the field instead of relying on the word of some General who pilots a desk instead of an aircraft.

MacKay's departure didn't come as a huge surprise.  Not only has the Ministry of Defense been controversial, but the pressures of the job were likely detracting him from his newborn baby and lovely wife.

I have personally met the Honourable Mr. MacKay and found him to be a personable and intelligent man, and I have heard that he's a pretty decent hockey player to boot.  I wish him the best in his new job as Justice Minister.

So, who's in charge now?  Rob Nicholson has basically traded places with MacKay, giving up the Justice Portfolio to become the new Minister of Defense.  Meanwhile, Rona Ambrose has been replaced with Diane Finley.  Whether or not this symbolizes a true change in direction with Canada's CF-18 replacement program remains to be seen, but new faces could make the F-35 controversy a little less damaging for the Conservative Party of Canada come next election.

Could this be sign of major change?  Or more of the same?

1 comment:

  1. Its interesting, the feds have run another deficit in the latest quarter. Im not sure how the can afford this plane or justify spending the money on it. I really think the Canadian public will flip if the F-35 is the choice. I think Saab must have a grin on, and this is what they meant by the times not right.........

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