Inside Politics

And then there were 2... multiculturalism ministers on the cabinet roster

Yet another update on the multitude of multiculturalism ministers that have popped up on the cabinet roster since last month's shuffle:

As of last Friday, Jason Kenney can add Minister for Multiculturalism to his business cards and departmental stationery, thanks to a newly issued cabinet order that gives him the green light to use a title that he (or, more accurately, a staffer drafting a news release on his behalf) briefly employed, then hastily removed from a statement issued last week by his former department.

What the new order doesn't seem to do, however, is rejig the chain of command itself.

Under the revamped Governor in Council-approved style guide, Kenney is still listed as a minister of state -- albeit one who can now refer to himself as 'minister' -- whose duties are still described as "assisting the Minister of Citizenship and Immigration in the carrying out of that Minister's responsibilities."

Also unaffected by the title tweak are the July 15th order assigning Uppal to the multiculturalism file -- who, according to that document, reports to Alexander, not Kenney -- as well the 2008 cabinet order that made the Minister of Citizenship and Immigration -- Kenney at the time, now Alexander -- responsible for upholding the tenets of the Canadian Multiculturalism Act, which includes, among other things, submitting an annual report on the issue to Parliament.

Until those cabinet orders are updated, confusion over which minister should be held accountable for the administration of the program itself -- which, for the record, remains under the aegis of Citizenship and Immigration -- will likely continue to confound outside observers.

It may also complicate life for the unseen public servants who carry out the less glamorous but essential behind the scenes work that allows the minister -- or, in this case, ministers -- to be feted at camera-friendly celebratory events.

Will future decisions on matters multicultural now have to be approved by two -- or even three -- different ministers' offices? And if, perish the thought, something were to go wrong within the program itself, which minister will stand up in the House to take his lumps from the opposition?

As always, stay tuned. 

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