OTTAWA — The new face of Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s cabinet is… Pierre Poilievre.

The 34-year-old scrappy, Ottawa-area Conservative MP, who isn’t known for his diplomatic and conciliatory tone, is expected to get a promotion early this week, several sources tell The Huffington Post Canada.

Poilievre’s appointment may not jibe with what political observers have suggested would be a cabinet "refresh," a change in tone and tactic.

"This government has been characterized by demonization of opponents and a refusal to engage in evidence for policy decisions, and I don’t think that a more prominent position for Pierre changes any of that," Matthew Mendelsohn, the director of the Mowat Centre at the University of Toronto told HuffPost.

This week’s cabinet shuffle will change some chairs around but it is unlikely to offer the breath of fresh air some observers may have wanted.

Key positions at Finance (Minister Jim Flaherty), Foreign Affairs (Minister John Baird) and Treasury Board (Minister Tony Clement) are not changing, HuffPost has learned.

New faces and secondary ministerial changes are unlikely to matter much, Mendelsohn said, because the boss at the top remains the same.

"I think that the cabinet shuffle is not that important," he said. "The tone is set by the prime minister, the tone is not set by junior level cabinet ministers."

Policy changes — if they happen — will occur in an upcoming Speech from the Throne and the budget, Mendelsohn said.

Government sources say their message around sound economic management, and Harper as the leader most trusted to manage that file, continues to be the Tories’ strength and Canadians shouldn’t expect too much tinkering with the formula.

"We won’t be re-inventing the wheel," a source said.

There may be some new policy focus but it will continue to be around key themes the government views as its strengths.

"The primary motivation for the cabinet shuffle isn’t change, it is getting ready for the next election and if the prime minister has his way that next election is going to be focused on jobs and the economy, so there is no need to change that core team," said Conservative strategist Will Stewart, a principal with the government relations firm Ensight.


Here’s a look at what could happen in the upcoming cabinet shuffle.

(Disclosure: We do not guarantee accurate results, just informed speculation.)

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  • Who Makes Harper's Next Cabinet?

    "The most important thing right now is for the government to show and project competency, that is probably the single most important thing it needs to do." -Chris Froggatt, Conservative strategist

  • Jason Kenney

    <strong>Role: </strong>Minister of Citizenship, Immigration and Multiculturalism <strong>Appointed:</strong> 2008 <strong>Age:</strong> 45 <strong>Riding:</strong> Calgary Southeast, Alberta <strong>Speculation: </strong>Heading to Industry, possibly DND. A number of files, like telecom, need attention at Industry Canada and the department could benefit from Kenney’s skills as effective communicator who knows how to seize opportunity and agenda. He’s also very good at managing the expectations of his department’s stakeholders. Bonus: Industry is a department where the potential leadership candidate can get some economic experience.

  • James Michael Flaherty

    <strong>Role:</strong> Minister of Finance <strong>Appointed:</strong> 2006 <strong>Age:</strong> 63 <strong>Riding:</strong> Whitby-Oshawa, Ontario <strong>Speculation:</strong> Flaherty made no secret he wants to stay where he is and while the prime minister may not like how aggressively the finance minister has lobbied to keep his job, Harper knows that if he replaces Flaherty it sends a signal he doesn’t have confidence in the government’s economic messaging and its deficit reduction targets. In short, Flaherty isn't going anywhere.

  • John Baird

    <strong>Role: </strong>Minister of Foreign Affairs <strong>Appointed:</strong> 2011 <strong>Age: </strong>44 <strong>Riding: </strong>Ottawa West-Nepean, Ontario <strong>Speculation:</strong> Baird is staying put. A trusted member of Harper's inner circle, Baird will be holding down the foreign affairs file after this summer shuffle.

  • Peter Gordon MacKay

    <strong>Role: </strong>Minister of National Defence <strong>Appointed: </strong>2007 <strong>Age:</strong> 47 <strong>Riding:</strong> Central Nova, Nova Scotia <strong>Speculation:</strong> MacKay will be shuffled out of DND. Although the F-35 problem is now with Public Works to get sorted out, the thinking is the department could use a fresh start. MacKay, a former Crown attorney, might be headed to Justice.

  • James Moore

    <strong>Role:</strong> Minister of Canadian Heritage and Official Languages <strong>Appointed:</strong> 2008 <strong>Age:</strong> 37 <strong>Riding:</strong> Port Moody-Westwood-Port Coquitlam, British Columbia <strong>Speculation: </strong>Definitely in line for a new job, Moore is seen by some as long overdue for promotion. He’s a very effective communicator but some wonder whether the minister, who harbours leadership ambitions, is as capable of implementing an agenda. Moore could go to National Defence, Citizenship and Immigration or possibly Natural Resources. If the government decides it wants to have a more aggressive agenda, perhaps Environment.

  • Shelly Glover

    <strong>Role: </strong>Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Finance <strong>Appointed: </strong>2011 <strong>Age: </strong>46 <strong>Riding:</strong> Saint Boniface, Manitoba <strong>Speculation:</strong> With Public Safety Minister Vic Toews out of cabinet, Glover could get the nod over fellow Manitoban Candice Bergen because she’s bilingual. The former police officer could get a role such as Associate Minister of National Defence, perhaps even Heritage or Veterans Affairs.

  • Diane Finley

    <strong>Role: </strong>Minister of Human Resources and Skills Development <strong>Appointed: </strong>2008 <strong>Age: </strong>55 <strong>Riding: </strong>Haldimand-Norfolk, Ontario <strong>Speculation:</strong> Finley is unlikely to be dumped from cabinet, especially not after the death of her husband Sen. Doug Finley, the man credited with bringing the Conservatives to power. Finley is considered a competent minister although the communications around one of her key files, temporary foreign workers, was bungled. She’s likely to stay put, seeing a move to Labour or Health as a demotion.

  • Candice Bergen

    <strong>Role:</strong> Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Public Safety <strong>Appointed:</strong> 2011 <strong>Age:</strong> 48 <strong>Riding:</strong> Portage-Lisgar, Manitoba <strong>Speculation:</strong> She was an effective communicator promoting her bill to scrap the long-gun registry and though we haven’t heard much from her, now that Public Safety Minister Vic Toews is gone a strong presence from Manitoba is needed. She could get a junior ministry such as Minister of State (Small Business and Tourism). She could also be a good whip and replace Gordon O’Connor.

  • Kellie Leitch

    <strong>Role: </strong>Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Human Resources and Skills Development and to the Minister of Labour <strong>Appointed:</strong> 2011 <strong>Age:</strong> 42 <strong>Riding:</strong> Simcoe-Grey, Ontario <strong>Speculation:</strong> Up for a promotion. She is an extremely hard worker, is very ambitious, good with stakeholders and, as one source said, she could be a huge asset if they government utilized her more. Still her French is not great. Perhaps she could inherit Labour, or even National Revenue.

  • Rona Ambrose

    <strong>Role:</strong> Minister of Public Works and Government Services and Minister for Status of Women <strong>Appointed: </strong>2010 <strong>Age:</strong> 44 <strong>Riding:</strong> Edmonton-Spruce Grove, Alberta <strong>Speculation:</strong> Ambrose is largely seen as competent. The shipbuilding contracts were awarded without too many problems but she’s likely to be affected by the dominos. Perhaps she's off to Labour or Health?

  • Maxime Bernier

    <strong>Role:</strong> Minister of State (Small Business and Tourism) <strong>Appointed: </strong>2011 <strong>Age:</strong> 50 <strong>Riding:</strong> Beauce, Quebec <strong>Speculation: </strong>Bernier has redeemed himself after the scandal with Julie Couillard, he is quite popular and could see himself promoted up. Perhaps Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs or even Heritage?

  • Chris Alexander

    <strong>Role: </strong>Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of National Defence <strong>Appointed:</strong> 2011 <strong>Age:</strong> 44 <strong>Riding: </strong>Ajax-Pickering, Ontario <strong>Speculation:</strong> He could go head International Cooperation or might end up with a junior portfolio such as Minister of State (Small Business and Tourism), Minister of State of Foreign Affairs (Americas and Consular Affairs) or Associate Minister of National Defence.

  • Edward Fast

    <strong>Role:</strong> Minister of International Trade and Minister for the Asia Pacific Gateway <strong>Appointed: </strong>2011 <strong>Age: </strong>58 <strong>Riding:</strong> Abbotsford, British Columbia <strong>Speculation:</strong> Fast is heading CETA negotiations and unless the government thinks things are going badly, he’s likely to stay where he is.

  • Bernard Valcourt

    <strong>Role:</strong> Minister of Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development <strong>Appointed:</strong> 2013 <strong>Age: </strong>61 <strong>Riding:</strong> Madawaska-Restigouche, New Brunswick <strong>Speculation:</strong> Unlikely to move

  • Leona Aglukkaq

    <strong>Role: </strong>Minister of Health, Minister of the Canadian Northern Economic Development Agency and Minister for the Arctic Council <strong>Appointed: </strong>2008, 2011, 2012 <strong>Age: </strong>46 <strong>Riding: </strong>Nunavut, Nunavut <strong>Speculation:</strong> Aglukkaq hasn’t done a bad job at Health Canada and has kept the department out of the headlines. She could be a real asset as Minister of Fisheries and Oceans.

  • Gordon O'Connor

    <strong>Role:</strong> Minister of State and Chief Government Whip <strong>Appointed: </strong>2008 <strong>Age: </strong>74 <strong>Riding:</strong> Carleton-Mississippi Mills, Ontario <strong>Speculation:</strong> He is likely to be shuffled out. O’Connor’s aggressive nature didn’t sit well with many caucus members.

  • Michelle Rempel

    <strong>Role: </strong>Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of the Environment <strong>Appointed:</strong> 2011 <strong>Age: </strong>33 <strong>Riding:</strong> Calgary Centre-North, Alberta <strong>Speculation:</strong> Although Rempel is an extremely effective communicator and hard worker who knows her files inside and out, some at the centre feel the Calgary MP promotes herself too much, sources say. She’s likely to get a promotion, but a junior position. Possibly something like Minister of State (Science and Technology) or even a department where her youth and energy would be appreciated such as Heritage.

  • Julian Fantino

    <strong>Role: </strong>Minister of International Cooperation <strong>Appointed:</strong> 2012 <strong>Age: </strong>70 <strong>Riding:</strong> Vaughan, Ontario <strong>Speculation:</strong> Fantino could be appointed to the Senate (there is a vacancy for Ontario), or an ambassador post. He is well liked, and could stay where he is or return as Associate Minister of National Defence.

  • Bal Gosal

    <strong>Role:</strong> Minister of State (Sport) <strong>Appointed:</strong> 2011 <strong>Age:</strong> 53 <strong>Riding:</strong> Bramalea-Gore-Malton, Ontario <strong>Speculation: </strong>Gosal loves his job. It’s hard to see who Harper would pick in the backbench to replace him.

  • Chungsen Leung

    <strong>Role: </strong>Parliamentary Secretary for Multiculturalism <strong>Appointed:</strong> 2011 <strong>Age:</strong> 62 <strong>Riding:</strong> Willowdale, Ontario <strong>Speculation: </strong>Leung could find himself promoted to Minister of State for Multiculturalism, if the government decides to split Jason Kenney’s former jobs.

  • Lisa Raitt

    <strong>Role:</strong> Minister of Labour <strong>Appointed: </strong>2010 <strong>Age: </strong>45 <strong>Riding: </strong>Halton, Ontario <strong>Speculation:</strong> Raitt has redeemed herself from a rocky start as a rookie MP and minister and shown herself quite capable of handling hot potatoes with several strikes looming on her watch. She didn’t hesitate to table back to work legislation for postal workers, Air Canada employees and CP rail workers. She could see herself promoted to Citizenship and Immigration, another department that needs an effective communicator, or even National Defence.

  • Alice Wong

    <strong>Role: </strong>Minister of State (Seniors) <strong>Appointed:</strong> 2011 <strong>Age: </strong>65 <strong>Riding:</strong> Richmond, British Columbia <strong>Speculation: </strong>Wong may not run again. If she doesn’t, someone younger and ambitious such as Vancouver’s Wai Young, who like Wong was born in Hong Kong, could get her spot in cabinet. Perhaps as Minister of State (Transport).

  • Denis Lebel

    <strong>Role:</strong> Minister of Transport, Infrastructure and Communities, Minister of the Economic Development Agency of Canada for the Regions of Quebec and Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs <strong>Appointed:</strong> 2011, 2011, 2013 <strong>Age: </strong>59 <strong>Riding:</strong> Roberval-Lac-Saint-Jean, Quebec <strong>Speculation:</strong> Lebel could be up for a promotion. Sources say he’s flown under the radar but has impressed others around the cabinet table. Perhaps to Public Works? Lebel may also be appointed Quebec Lieutenant.

  • Gail Shea

    <strong>Role:</strong> Minister of National Revenue and Minister for the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency <strong>Appointed:</strong> 2011 and 2013 <strong>Age: </strong>54 <strong>Riding:</strong> Egmont, Prince Edward Island <strong>Speculation: </strong>With Keith Ashfield out of cabinet, Shea could stay put or find herself back at Fisheries.

  • Gary Goodyear

    <strong>Role: </strong>Minister of State (Science and Technology) (Federal Economic Development Agency for Southern Ontario) <strong>Appointed:</strong> 2009 <strong>Age: </strong>55 <strong>Riding: </strong>Cambridge, Ontario <strong>Speculation: </strong>Could be up for a promotion. He’s done a good job communicating changes at the National Research Council of Canada. Perhaps he'll be appointed Associate Deputy Minister of Defence? Or even the Government whip?

  • Gerry Ritz

    <strong>Role:</strong> Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food and Minister for the Canadian Wheat Board <strong>Appointed: </strong>2007, 2008 <strong>Age: </strong>61 <strong>Riding: </strong>Battlefords-Lloydminster, Saskatchewan <strong>Speculation: </strong>Ritz has been there forever and it’s hard to imagine anyone else in the job.

  • James Rajotte

    <strong>Role:</strong> Chair of the House of Commons Standing Committee on Finance <strong>Appointed:</strong> 2009 <strong>Age: </strong>42 <strong>Riding: </strong>Edmonton-Leduc, Alberta <strong>Speculation:</strong> Certainly in line for a promotion, pundits have been calling for one for years. But now that there are two vacancies in Alberta, it could be Rajotte’s time. Minister of State for Finance, Ted Menzies’ former position, would be a good fit.

  • Joe Oliver

    <strong>Role:</strong> Minister of Natural Resources <strong>Appointed: </strong>2011 <strong>Age:</strong> 73 <strong>Riding:</strong> Eglinton-Lawrence, Ontario <strong>Speculation: </strong>Oliver, despite being 73, wants to run again and is widely regarded as a hard working minister. He may stay put. If he moves, Transport would be a natural fit for a Toronto minister.

  • Kerry-Lynne D. Findlay

    <strong>Role:</strong> Associate Minister of National Defence <strong>Appointed: </strong>2013 <strong>Age: </strong>58 <strong>Riding:</strong> Delta-Richmond East, British Columbia <strong>Speculation: </strong>Harper likes to develop his ministers before giving them the big jobs, Findlay could head to Veterans Affairs or National Revenue.

  • Christian Paradis

    <strong>Role:</strong> Minister of Industry and Minister of State (Agriculture) <strong>Appointed: </strong>2011 <strong>Age: </strong>39 <strong>Riding: </strong>Mégantic-L'Érable, Quebec <strong>Speculation:</strong> Seen as lazy and ineffective, Paradis is likely to be demoted. The biggest file so far during his tenure, foreign takeover policy, was managed by Harper’s then chief of staff Nigel Wright and announced by Harper himself. Paradis is also the government’s Quebec Lieutenant -- a job he could potentially lose to a cabinet minister who is harder working such as Denis Lebel. With only five MPs from Quebec, Harper might chose to give Paradis a file such as Intergovernmental Affairs or Veterans Affairs. Or simply make him responsible for Economic Development in Quebec.

  • Lynne Yelich

    <strong>Role: </strong>Minister of State (Western Economic Diversification) <strong>Appointed:</strong> 2008 <strong>Age:</strong> 60 <strong>Riding:</strong> Blackstrap, Saskatchewan <strong>Speculation: </strong>She’s unlikely to move. Perhaps she could take on the Minister of State (Seniors) portfolio.

  • Robert Douglas Nicholson

    <strong>Role:</strong> Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada <strong>Appointed:</strong> 2007 <strong>Age:</strong> 61 <strong>Riding:</strong> Niagara Falls, Ontario <strong>Speculation:</strong> Seen as a competent minister, Nicholson could be headed to Public Safety. He’s not the most impressive communicator, but the government likes that he sticks to his talking points and doesn’t get into trouble.

  • Peter Kent

    <strong>Role:</strong> Minister of the Environment <strong>Appointed: </strong>2011 <strong>Age:</strong> 69 <strong>Riding:</strong> Thornhill, Ontario <strong>Speculation:</strong>Likely to be demoted. Kent told his constituents if that was the case he would use his time as a backbench MP to serve them better.

  • Steven Blaney

    <strong>Role:</strong> Minister of Veterans Affairs and Minister for La Francophonie <strong>Appointed:</strong> 2011 <strong>Age: </strong>48 <strong>Riding:</strong> Lévis--Bellechasse, Quebec <strong>Speculation:</strong> Blaney is well liked. He’s done a good job in his department. He could stay where he is or perhaps head to Heritage?

  • Tim Uppal

    <strong>Role: </strong>Minister of State (Democratic Reform) <strong>Appointed:</strong> 2011 <strong>Age: </strong>38 <strong>Riding:</strong> Edmonton-Sherwood Park, Alberta <strong>Speculation: </strong>Uppal hasn’t been a very effective minister and he has a young family. Harper could chose to put someone in the role would would be a better communicator, like Michelle Rempel or an outside pick like a backbencher. Perhaps Steven Fletcher could get the job back?

  • Tony Clement

    <strong>Role: </strong>President of the Treasury Board and Minister for the Federal Economic Development Initiative for Northern Ontario <strong>Appointed:</strong> 2011 <strong>Age:</strong> 52 <strong>Riding: </strong>Parry Sound-Muskoka, Ontario <strong>Speculation:</strong> Clement is staying right where he is. He recently took over the Treasury Board Secretariat and has sunk his teeth into many of its programs. He’s still chairing the committee overseeing expenditure cuts in government, has a strike on his hands with the Foreign Service officers, is trying to limit public sector sick days and is enthusiastically promoting the government’s open data plans.

  • Peter Van Loan

    <strong>Role:</strong> Leader of the Government in the House of Commons <strong>Appointed: </strong>2011 <strong>Age: </strong>50 <strong>Riding: </strong>York-Simcoe, Ontario <strong>Speculation:</strong> There was speculation Van Loan would be moved from this position -- he isn’t the most conciliatory figure. But he lobbied hard to get the job again after serving a first term and it’s difficult to see where he would go.

  • Joe Daniel

    Joe Daniel Role: Backbench MP Appointed: N/A Age: 60 Riding: Don Valley East, Ontario Speculation: Daniel is not well known but he’d bring diversity to cabinet and is an easy to like guy. If he gets in, it could be a to a junior position such as Minister of State (Science and Technology).

Stewart said he believes a few new players with fresh ideas and new perspectives might help bring in some change the public is asking for while maintaining experienced ministers in important portfolios.

University of Ottawa political scientist Robert Asselin, an advisor to Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau, told HuffPost that cabinet changes won’t by themselves lead to change.

He said Poilievre’s promotion, however, was the worst thing that could happen.

"If someone like (Calgary MP Michelle) Rempel comes up I think it would send a very good message because she’s obviously smart, she can say what she thinks, but unfortunately if they send someone like Poilievre and they reward an attack dog and someone who spins and has no views of his own, I think it just re-enforces the spokesperson paradigm that being a minister you don’t take decisions, you just go on TV and say whatever PMO (Prime Minister’s Office) tells you to say," Asselin said.

Ministers are just "comms people in their own department," he added, and any changes are cosmetic because it will still be the same government and the same PM.

Poilievre, a former aide to Stockwell Day, was first elected to represent Nepean—Carleton in 2004. He served two years as the parliamentary secretary to the prime minister and is currently the parliamentary secretary to the Transport Minister Denis Lebel.

He is better known to most Canadians for his enthusiastic defence of the government. This spring he defended Harper’s former chief-of-staff Nigel Wright’s decision to give Sen. Mike Duffy a $90,000 cheque by saying Wright had done "an exceptionally honourable thing" in order to protect taxpayers.

He also mocked Trudeau’s reaction to the Boston bombings, after the Liberal leader mused on TV it was time to think about the root causes of terrorism, by saying it wasn't time for questioning, as "the root causes of terrorism is terrorists."

When Poilievre was ridiculed, he rose in the House to slam the "small army of Liberal pseudo-intellectuals" who had a "collective spasm" over his words.

Poilievre, a hard-working constituency MP who apparently responds to the nickname "Skippy," has pushed to make "unionism" voluntary. His website is full of quotable Poilievre sayings such as "Canada was built on freedom not freebies" and "Government cannot give anything, without first taking it away."

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