Well, the long awaited shuffle has of course occurred....yawn.
I hadn't made any predictions, as I usually find the exercise futile, but I can say, that I wasn't really surprised. The one move that perhaps is a bit weird, but explicable, is Maxime Bernier to Foreign Affairs. The explanation of course is a voice in Quebec to explain Afghanistan. A shrewd move I suppose, but one I doubt will pay off. Bernier is tight with messaging, but inexperienced with the file. In the end, he'll be repeating the same message that the gov't has stuck to and that is what isn't working, not so much the messenger.
Ablonzy is in, but in a junior position, so not at the Cabinet table. The lack of women in cabinet is still very obvious, though I will say I'm glad that petulant Guergis was not promoted.
O'Connor gone, big surprise! Not. Putting MacKay there is again a communications thing. Though this one is a bit interesting. It could prove to be a poison pill for MacKay. He cannot stray off script, which he's been known to do and that has national consequences. How it will affect him in his riding, I think, will either be positive or neutral.
Losing Prentice from Aboriginal Affairs may generate some reaction. He was respected in that role and I'm sure aboriginal groups are tired of their Minister's constantly changing. Strahl was generally respected, until the Wheat Board fiasco. Flouting legal decisions, does nothing for credibility.
Oda to CIDA, is a mistake I think. I haven't wrapped my head around all of it, but on the surface, she'll still be called on in QP and she under preforms. Verner to Heritage, interesting, but I can't figure her out. If she is a typical Quebecer, and I mean that in a good way, this may be a good move. I have no idea however, if she embraces the importance that Quebecers place on culture, over the culture her boss promotes.
All in all, the shuffle was about sending the same message, through different voices. Voices that are hopefully, for the government, more articulate and convincing. Will it work? I doubt it. It's not the people, it's the message, imo, that people are not buying. Harper has been unable to move his numbers and one of his big hurdles is women. I see nothing here that will sway them. Another is Ontario....what did he do there? Attention to Quebec? That's just going to tick the rest of the country off and it's too obvious.
So, all in all, yawn. The Opposition critic's have time to get their ducks in a row, knowing who they will face. They will of course hit the new Minister's weakest spot's and Parliament should prove interesting.
A last thought. Harper suggested that it was time that O'Connor expanded his breadth of knowledge. 40 years in Defense, he's what, 67 years old? Yeah, now is the time to learn. Laughable and lame.