07/04/2012 06:24 EDT | Updated 09/03/2012 05:12 EDT

Julian Fantino to replace Bev Oda as CIDA minister

Julian Fantino will replace Bev Oda as minister of international co-operation, Prime Minister Stephen Harper announced Wednesday.

Oda, who had been the minister in charge of the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA) since 2007, announced Tuesday she was leaving cabinet and would step down as MP for the Ontario riding of Durham on July 31.

New Brunswick MP Bernard Valcourt will replace Fantino, a former Toronto police chief and former commissioner of the Ontario Provincial Police, as associate minister of national defence. It also appears Valcourt will have responsibility for military procurement, which had been the main reason for the associate minister file when Fantino was first appointed in 2011.

But the lead department on the highest profile programs, the F-35 fighter jet and the national shipbuilding effort, is Public Works and Government Services Canada. The department is seen as having ably managed the shipbuilding procurement, and the government moved the fighter jet file to a special secretariat headed up by Public Works following a scathing auditor general's report into the process to replace the CF-18 aircraft.

At the same time, the government has a number of other military equipment purchases underway, including two types of helicopters, fixed-wing search and rescue aircraft, tanks and light armoured vehicle conversions, on which National Defence remains the lead.

Valcourt will also keep his current portfolio the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency.

The announcement was made by a news release late in the afternoon.

Ministers seen as weak remain

Andrew MacDougall, a spokesman for Harper, said that would be the only cabinet shuffle for the time being.

That leaves a number of embattled ministers in their portfolios, including Peter MacKay, who as defence minister bore the brunt of criticism over the process to replace Canada's fighter jets. MacKay also took heavy rhetorical fire for using a search and rescue helicopter for a lift to the airport in Newfoundland when he got called back to work in the middle of his summer vacation in 2010.

The four-paragraph press release also ends heavy speculation over who might move in a cabinet shuffle this summer.

Other ministers who observers thought were headed out the door or to another portfolio were Aboriginal Affairs Minister John Duncan, who proved a poor communicator last fall when reports surfaced about the troubled community of Attawapiskat in northern Ontario, and Public Safety Minister Vic Toews, who caused problems for himself on his online surveillance legislation last winter when he accused detractors of standing "with the child pornographers."

A handful of MPs had been expected to get promotions to cabinet, including Calgary MP Michelle Rempel, parliamentary secretary to the environment minister, Chris Alexander, MP for Ajax, Ont., and parliamentary secretary to the minister of national defence, and Kellie Leitch, MP for Simcoe-Grey, Ont., and the parliamentary secretary to the minister of human resources and skills development.

In a statement, Fantino said he was humbled to take on his new position, particularly with the agency's focus on the health of mothers, babies and children.

"Our government has made great efforts to improve the effectiveness and accountability of Canada's aid programs. I will continue to make that a priority," Fantino said.