7 key changes in Harper's new cabinet

Here are 7 changes to note about Stephen Harper's new cabinet.

Prime minister shuffles cabinet with eye to 2015 federal election

Top ministers stay put

9 years ago
Duration 6:10
Eight MPs moved from the backbench to the cabinet, but the prime minister's inner circle remained largely the same

Prime Minister Stephen Harper unveiled a new cabinet on Monday bringing what he called "generational change" to his inner circle ahead of a throne speech this fall and a policy convention in late October.

Here are 7 changes to note about Harper's new cabinet:

1– Women

The government had hinted that there would be more women in the new cabinet and Harper was hyping it up when he announced on Twitter that he was "proud to be naming four new strong, capable women to the ministry," but the fact is that men still dominate his front bench and there are only two more women in cabinet than there were before the shuffle.

Prime Minister Stephen Harper arrives with his wife Laureen for a cabinet swearing-in ceremony at Rideau Hall. (Chris Wattie/Reuters)

Women make up less than one-third of Harper's cabinet with 12 of the 39 cabinet members being women. Only two of the 12 women are new to the cabinet.

Seven women are now in charge of full-fledged ministries while four of the 12 have been appointed to junior posts.

Rona Ambrose is the minister of health, Diane Finley is the minister of public works and government services, and Leona Aglukkaq is the minister of the environment as well as the minister for the Canadian northern economic development agency and minister for the Arctic council. Lisa Raitt is the minister of transport, Kerry-Lynne Findlay is the minister of national revenue, Shelley Glover is the minister of Canadian heritage and official languages, and Kellie Leitch is both the minister of labour and minister of status for women. Gail Shea is the minister of fisheries and oceans.

Lynne Yelich is the minister of state for foreign and consular affairs, Alice Wong remains the minister of state for seniors, Candice Bergen is the minister of state for social development, and Michelle Rempel is the minister of state for western economic diversification.

Harper also lost two women from cabinet when Diane Ablonczy said she would not run again in 2015 and Marjory LeBreton announced her intention to resign as government leader in the Senate — a cabinet vacancy Harper did not fill.

2 – A new department

Jason Kenney is now the minister of Employment and Social Development, formerly known as Human Resources and Skills Development Canada.

The new department will reflect the government's "focus on job creation" and "determination to improve how skills training is delivered."

Two junior ministers will report to Kenney: Candice Bergen, the minister of state for social development, and Alice Wong, the minister of state for seniors.

As minister of labour, Kellie Leitch, will also work with Kenney as some of her new responsibilities will overlap with employment and social development.

Kenney took to Twitter on Monday saying he was "delighted to be working with a strong team of Ministers."

3 – One new backbench MP

Harper appointed backbench MP Kevin Sorenson to minister of state for finance replacing Ted Menzies who announced he would not run again in 2015.

Michelle Rempel is sworn in as the minister of state for western economic diversification. (Adrian Wyld/Canadian Press)

Sorenson, from Crowfoot, Alta., is the only MP who was promoted from the backbenches to the junior ranks of Harper's new cabinet without any previous experience in a ministry.

First elected in 2000, Sorensen has served as chair of three Commons committees: public safety and national security, the special committee on the Canadian mission in Afghanistan, and the committee on foreign affairs and international development.

4 – Junior posts

The prime minister also created two junior posts during his shuffle. He appointed Tim Uppal to minister of state for multiculturalism and Candice Bergen as the minister of state for social development.

Harper did not appoint a new associate minister of defence responsible for procurement after he shuffled Kerry-Lynne Findlay, who was in that junior role since February, to national revenue.

Procurement will now be the responsibility of public works.

5 – Splitting ministries

Harper has split the ministries of transport and infrastructure, taking transport away from Denis Lebel – who was the minister of transport, infrastructure and communities – and giving it to Lisa Raitt.

6 – Social media

Harper used Twitter for the first time and in a co-ordinated way to announce his new cabinet. His Twitter feed had details about the changes Monday morning ahead of the 11 a.m. ceremony, including how many new people would be added and how many women. As MPs arrived one by one at Rideau Hall, Harper announced on Twitter what their positions in cabinet were. Some of the new cabinet members also recorded short video clips that were posted on YouTube.

7 – In and out

The brand new faces in cabinet are: Chris Alexander, Shelly Glover, Pierre Poilievre, Kellie Leitch, Michelle Rempel, Candice Bergen, Kevin Sorenson, and Greg Rickford.

The people who are out are: Peter Kent, Senator Marjory LeBreton, Diane Ablonczy, Ted Menzies, Steven Fletcher, Keith Ashfield, Gordon O'Connor.