Manitoba MPs Glover, Bergen named to federal cabinet
Winnipeg-area MP Steven Fletcher moved out of cabinet
Prime Minister Stephen Harper's shuffling has brought two Manitoba MPs into cabinet and sent another out.
Shelley Glover and Candice Bergen have been named as minister of Canadian Heritage and official languages, and minister of state (social development), respectively.
"What an amazing opportunity. I want to thank the prime minister for believing in me and giving me this chance to help my community and my country," Glover said in a YouTube video that was posted Monday.
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Steven Fletcher, who was most recently the minister of state for transport, has been shuffled out of cabinet. The Charleswood-St. James-Assiniboia MP issued a formal statement on the cabinet shuffle (see below).
Fletcher told CBC News he understands that Manitoba has room for two federal ministers only, and he agrees that cabinet needs more women.
When asked if he was disappointed about being dropped from cabinet, Fletcher had a somewhat cheeky response.
"Let me put it like this: I'm a Conservative, I'm a traditionalist, so I would've liked to have left cabinet the traditional way, and that is with a sex scandal," he said with a smirk.
Fletcher said he has plans to continue working for his constituents.
"I have the opportunity now to pursue initiatives that interest me and that I think will be a benefit," he said.
"I'll be able to do it in a different way than if I were in cabinet."
Glover becomes senior regional minister
Vic Toews, who had served as minister of public safety, is also out of cabinet, but that was his own decision. He announced his retirement from politics last week to focus on his family and to pursue opportunities in the private sector.
Manitoba's size dictates that it can have only two federal ministers. On Monday afternoon, Glover confirmed to CBC News that she will now be Manitoba's regional minister, taking over from Toews.
Former political studies professor Paul Thomas said Glover and Bergen have proven themselves in Parliament, especially when it comes to communicating the party line.
"We used to say that when you stood up as a parliamentary secretary — which both these women were — in question period and handled questions competently, that got you high marks with the prime minister," Thomas said.
"Now I think it's more important about how you do on talk shows."
Glover and fellow Manitoba MP James Bezan have been in a dispute with Elections Canada over their expense returns from the 2011 election. They faced being blocked from the House of Commons over the dispute.
The MPs filed applications asking a Manitoba court to order Elections Canada to accept their expense returns and declare that they have "complied with the provisions" of the law.
In late June, Glover dropped the case and two staffers from her office returned some of their campaign salaries.
Bezan is still fighting over the past three federal election filings, dating back to 2006.
Shelly Glover video
St. Boniface MP Shelly Glover talks about her new cabinet post in a YouTube video that went up on Monday:
Statement from Steven Fletcher
In today’s significant cabinet shuffle, Manitoba gains two new female ministers. I look forward to working with Ministers Glover and Bergen to make Manitoba and Canada, a better place.
The prime minister has stated that there needs to be more women in cabinet and in politics. I agree. Gender distribution is an important part of any cabinet composition.
I will stand for re-election in 2015. I am thoroughly enjoying being a member of parliament. I look forward to continue to champion causes that are to the benefit the constituents that I am most fortunate to represent.
Since 2008, I served in the federal cabinet as a minister of state (democratic reform) and minister of state (transport). I have also been a member of several important cabinet committees, including four years on treasury board and committees that deal with the economy, sustainability and social affairs.
For the last several years I have been the minister responsible for numerous Crown corporations including Canada Post, VIA Rail, Ridley Terminals, Marine Atlantic, Blue Water Bridge Canada, and the Federal Bridge Corporation to name a few.
I am thankful to everyone with whom I have worked. The experience has allowed me to broaden my horizons and understand better how government works. As an MP, I will put this experience to good use.
I am also pleased to have the opportunity to be the lead minister for Manitoba for infrastructure for the last few years. In this role, I had the opportunity to help develop the $70 billion over 10 years New Building Canada Fund, the largest infrastructure initiative in Canadian history.
The first and foremost responsibility of any MP is to represent the constituency and this is my primary objective. I will continue to pursue projects that are in Manitoba’s interest and bring them to the national level.
I look forward to applying my skill set and considerable energy to new challenges and continue to represent the people who have put their faith in me.
I wish to thank the prime minister for the opportunity to serve in cabinet.