POLITICS

'Geezer club': Quotes from cabinet day in the nation's capital

07/15/2013 06:31 EDT | Updated 09/14/2013 05:12 EDT
OTTAWA - A selection of quotes about Monday's federal cabinet shuffle:

"This is really the commencement of something I told all ministers at the beginning of this Parliament: that in the course of this mandate, I would bring a generational change to the ministry. This is an important step forward in terms of that." — Prime Minister Stephen Harper.

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"There has been a fair degree of continuity in the ministry over a period of time now since 2006. I think, on balance, the government has been successful. That's why we've been re-elected twice with increased support each time, but obviously we're always looking at ways we can continue to evolve to address new challenges and to improve our performance." — Prime Minister Stephen Harper.

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"Stephen Harper had a golden opportunity here to change but nothing that we saw today shows that the prime minister was ready to change direction. Instead, he decided to double down on the same approach that saw his government beset by ethical scandals and lurching from crisis to crisis. This is desperate attempt to pretend to put a fresh face on his government from a prime minister who is simply not willing to change." — NDP deputy leader Megan Leslie

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"What you've seen today is the addition of younger people who've been in the House of Commons, who've worked hard in other capacities, but whose advice and energy is now going to be added to that experienced team. And I think that adds up to a very powerful combination." — Chris Alexander, newly appointed citizenship and immigration minister.

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"Welcome to the old geezers club." — Harper to newly appointed Justice Minister Peter MacKay after he needed reading glasses to recite his ministerial oath.

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"It is clear that the only minister who has any power in this government is the prime minister. Today's shuffle does not change that." — Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau.

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"We are well-placed internationally right now and this government has been very clear in stating that our continued concern and vision for this country is to see that long-term economic growth and prosperity, build on the track record of one million net new jobs. These are things Canadians want — to have steady hands on the tiller and that's what's been done today." — Michelle Rempel, newly appointed minister of state for western economic diversification.

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"The worst economic growth record since R.B. Bennett in the 1930s and you have a cabinet shuffle and make no substantive changes, or minor changes to the ministers in economic portfolios, tells us that you think the government is performing, from an economic perspective, just fine." — Liberal House leader Dominic LeBlanc

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"As a young woman in politics, it also gives me great pleasure to see additional female cabinet representation here today. You know, these are very high levels of representation for women around the cabinet table and I think that that's something that's very important to me." — Michelle Rempel, newly appointed minister of state for western economic diversification.

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"I think it just might make the process of getting the government's program through Parliament more difficult, to show this lack of respect for the second chamber." — Ned Franks, Queens University professor emeritus, on the absence Senate representation in cabinet.

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"He rolled around in the mud with them. I'm sure they appreciated that, and it's not something Rob Nicholson will be doing." — Liberal defence critic John McKay on Peter MacKay moving to Justice, swapping jobs with Nicholson.

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"As a Nunavummiutaq she will bring an Arctic perspective to the issues of climate change, pollution of our oceans and the need to balance economic development with environmental protection." — Nunavut Premier Eva Aariak on the appointment of Environment Minister Leona Aglukkaq.

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"There is a growing demand for action and change. Our issues go beyond any one minister or department and we fully expect and look forward to a government-wide effort to work with First Nations to make real progress." — Shawn Atleo, national chief of the Assembly of First Nations.