POLITICS

Cabinet Shuffle 2013: Changes Criticized On 'At Issue' (VIDEO)

07/16/2013 12:16 EDT

Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s cabinet shuffle is complete but there is some debate as to whether or not it delivered the "generational change" he promised and, frankly, whether it mattered much at all.

Harper promoted many fresh faces and rising Tory stars to a cabinet that now has 39 ministers, including Manitoba MP Shelly Glover, Alberta MP Michelle Rempel and Ontario MP Chris Alexander.

He also included controversial Tory MP Pierre Poilievre, a 34-year-old who has built a reputation as a partisan attack dog.

But the ministers with the most power — Finance Minister Jim Flaherty, Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird, Treasury Board President Tony Clement — did not change.

The "At Issue" panel on CBC’s “The National” discussed Harper’s moves Monday night. The Huffington Post Canada’s Althia Raj joined The National Post’s Andrew Coyne, The Canadian Press’ Jennifer Ditchburn and panel regular Bruce Anderson for a discussion moderated by Peter Mansbridge.

Coyne was quick to point out how large the cabinet has grown, adding that Mackenzie King was able to win the Second World War with about 20 ministers.

"A lot of those posts are frankly made-up posts," he said, adding that there are only about half a dozen spots that are actually important.

Ditchburn said the lack of changes to the core economic team made this a "mullet" shuffle.

"Business in the front and the flare in the back," she said.

But Raj said Conservatives had been telegraphing for months that the shuffle would be about the economy.

"They don’t think they’ve done anything wrong so why would they re-invent the wheel?" she said.

Raj added that the shuffle of former long-time immigration minister Jason Kenney shows the government knows it is having "big problems" at Human Resources and Skills Development. The renamed ministry, Employment and Social Development, will give "Mr. Fix-It" the chance to help sell the Canada Jobs Grant to the provinces.

What do you think about the shuffle? Do you feel like it really marks substantive change or more of the same?

Watch the video above for the panel’s take and tell us in the comments below.

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