Inside Politics

Looming cabinet shuffle to rejig PM/ministerial backup list

As my colleague Meagan Fitzpatrick reports, outgoing Senate Government Leader Marjory LeBreton will soon be bumped from her spot at the top of the list of ministers authorized to fill in for the PM should he become unable to fulfill the functions of the office:

[LeBreton] announced last week that she is stepping down as Senate leader but didn't say when. The date is still to be determined. LeBreton intends to remain a senator; she is only quitting her job as the Conservatives' leader in the Senate.

But she's also vice-chair of an important cabinet committee and it's that position that makes her the number one minister who can fill in for Harper if the need arises. That's about to change.

Amidst the switching of portfolios, the identity of Harper's new backup is one more thing to watch for when the ministerial shakeup happens. Previous governments have had a deputy prime minister position but Harper did not maintain that tradition when he took power in 2006.

The PM isn't the only member of cabinet with a designated substitute, of course.

Courtesy of the PCO website, here's the current list of acting ministers, at least one of whom -- Justice Minister Rob Nicholson -- is on active replacement duty as we speak, thanks to the departure of Public Safety Minister Vic Toews earlier this week: 

Minister of Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development (Bernard Valcourt)

Designated backups: James Moore, Gail Shea

Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food and Minister for the Canadian Wheat Board (Gerry Ritz)

Designated backups: Diane Finley, Peter Kent

Minister of Canadian Heritage and Official Languages (James Moore)

Designated backups: Jason Kenney, Keith Ashfield

Minister of Citizenship, Immigration and Multiculturalism (Jason Kenney)

Designated backups: Diane Finley, James Moore

Minister of the Environment (Peter Kent)

Designated backups: James Moore, Lisa Raitt

Minister of Finance (Jim Flaherty)

Designated backups: Tony Clement, Christian Paradis

Minister of Fisheries and Oceans and Minister for the Atlantic Gateway (Keith Ashfield)

Designated backups: Peter MacKay, Gail Shea

Minister of Foreign Affairs (John Baird)

Designated backups: Peter Van Loan, Peter MacKay

Leader of the Government in the House of Commons (Peter Van Loan)

Designated backups: Rob Nicholson, John Baird

Minister of Health, Minister of the Canadian Northern Economic Development Agency and Minister for the Arctic Council (Leona Aglukkaq)

Designated backups: Tony Clement, Gerry Ritz

Minister of Human Resources and Skills Development (Diane Finley)

Designated backups: Lisa Raitt, Jason Kenney

Minister of Industry and Minister of State (Agriculture) (Christian Paradis)

Designated backups: Jim Flaherty, Tony Clement

Minister of International Cooperation (Julian Fantino)

Designated backups: John Baird, Ed Fast

Minister of International Trade and Minister for the Asia-Pacific Gateway (Ed Fast)

Designated backups: John Baird, Christian Paradis

Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada (Rob Nicholson)

Designated backups: Vic Toews, Peter MacKay

Minister of Labour (Lisa Raitt)

Designated backups: Diane Finley, Keith Ashfield

Minister of National Defence (Peter MacKay)

Designated backups: Kerry-Lynne Findlay, Peter Van Loan

Minister of National Revenue and Minister for the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency (Gail Shea)

Designated backups: Keith Ashfield, Rona Ambrose

Minister of Natural Resources (Joe Oliver)

Designated backups: Lisa Raitt, Christian Paradis

Minister of Public Safety (Vic Toews)

Designated backups: Rob Nicholson, Peter Van Loan

Minister of Public Works and Government Services and Minister for Status of Women (Rona Ambrose)

Designated backups: James Moore, Denis Lebel

Minister of Transport, Infrastructure and Communities, Minister of the Economic Development Agency of Canada for the Regions of Quebec and Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs (Denis Lebel)

Designated backups: Christian Paradis, Steve Blaney

President of the Treasury Board and Minister for the Federal Economic Development Initiative for Northern Ontario (Tony Clement)

Designated backups: Jim Flaherty, Rona Ambrose

Minister of Veterans Affairs and Minister for La Francophonie (Steve Blaney)

Designated backups: Peter MacKay, Leona Aglukkaq

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