Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Harper's Quebec Woes Leave Him With Empty Chairs To Fill -- A Commentary

From National Post:

Stephen Harper had five Quebec ministers in his last Cabinet. Only one of them, Michael Fortier, was defeated in last week’s election. That leaves four -- Lawrence Cannon (Transport), Josée Verner (Heritage), Jean-Pierre Blackburn (Labour) and Christian Paradis (Public Works) -- among the 10 Conservatives elected from Quebec (the same number as in 2006).

What is Harper to do with them, and who, if anyone, will he bring forward to replace Trade Minister Fortier, who’d been appointed to the Senate and served as minister responsible for the Montreal region, before last week’s defeat?
If the Prime Minister is to be taken at his own word, he will not appoint anyone else to Cabinet from the Senate. How, then, to staff the Montreal-region portfolio? Since all of his Quebec ministers and MPs come from outside the Montreal region -- Cannon from the Gatineau riding of Pontiac and the others from the party’s 418 stronghold around Quebec City -- this will be interesting. The Montreal region represents half the population and at least half the economy of Quebec, so it’s an important call.

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