POLITICS

Harper Cabinet Shuffle To Place Young MPs In Key Roles?

07/03/2013 05:21 EDT
CP

When it comes to Canadian politics these days, it appears youth is in.

With Prime Minister Stephen Harper preparing to shuffle his cabinet this summer, many pundits are saying he should inject energy into his front bench by promoting younger MPs.

"Faced with 41-year-old Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau and a young NDP front bench, much of the shuffle speculation has focused on generational change," wrote The Canadian Press’ Jennifer Ditchburn in May.

Harper has reportedly asked his ministers to make clear whether they plan to run again or retire in advance of the 2015 election.

Alberta MP and minister of state for finance Ted Menzies, 61, announced Tuesday he won’t be running again and there are reports Public Safety Minister Vic Toews, 60, is also set to retire.

Fisheries Minister Keith Ashfield, 61, announced in late June that he is battling cancer and has asked Harper to excuse him from cabinet.

The oldest member of Harper’s cabinet, 74-year-old Government Whip Gordon O’Connor, is thought to be another minister who won’t seek re-election.

But Natural Resources Minister Joe Oliver, 73 , says he intends to stick around past 2015.

"I am honoured to represent my constituents and want to continue to work on their behalf and behalf of all Canadians," Oliver recently told The Globe and Mail. "As to my ministerial responsibilities, I serve at the pleasure of the Prime Minister."

Still, if Harper wants some fresh faces around the cabinet table, there are several young Tories who could fit the bill.

It’s rumoured Heritage Minister James Moore, 37, may have bigger fish to fry.

National Post columnist John Ivison has suggested Moore could be in line for the Natural Resources portfolio, "where the position of his native province, British Columbia, will dictate the future of the Northern Gateway pipeline."

Alberta MP Michelle Rempel, 33, is also viewed by many as a shoo-in for cabinet. The youngest member of the Tory caucus is seen as a rising star.

“In addition to her strong performance on the Hill, Rempel is a young woman who would bring a fresher face to the cabinet table,” wrote Eric Grenier in a column for HuffPost Canada.

And who can forget about Pierre Poilievre? The 34-year-old Ontario MP, first elected at age 24 and who apparently responds to the nickname "Skippy," was a big talker during question period this past year.

The Hill Times named Poilievre as a "potential riser" in the shuffle thanks in large part to his success as the government’s "favoured spin doctor."

The Hill Times columnist Laura Ryckewaert also believes New Brunswick MP Rob Moore, 39, could be next in line for the Fisheries portfolio Ashfield is leaving behind.

Other names being kicked around include Ontario MPs Rick Dykstra, 47, Eve Adams, 38, Kellie Leitch, 42, and Chris Alexander, 44.

Could this be the beginning of a Tory youth movement? Time will tell.

Check out the gallery below to see some of Canada’s youngest members of Parliament.

Canada's Youngest MPs