It would have happened sooner or later, as these things go. Some people will be hugely disappointed, despite their hard work. Others who will have done everything to ingratiate themselves to the “powers that be” will be overjoyed.
Not everyone can be Minister. The Prime Minister and his Advisors are the ultimate decision-makers as to who is in and who is out. They determine who has “the right stuff”. There is not a test.
Those who follow the dynamics of “reporting” from Parliament Hill would have speculated about the imminent Cabinet Shuffle as soon as a former National Post columnist, now a writer for the Star, wrote that, in the event The Prime Minister would be looking to someone other than Stephane Dion to deal with the Trump Administration, Chrystia Freeland, the current International Trade Minister, would be an obvious choice. The formal announcement comes later today.
Stephane Dion will announce his departure from politics, possibly today. An unkind Press Gallery was already calling him a “prickly personality” one difficult for others to deal with. Not the type for incoming President Trump.
These types of decisions usually set off a domino effect that involves several “unsuspecting” or “anxious others”. Gone is the Minister for Human Resources. Her role may be being given to her colleague from Thunder Bay. Dion will be replaced by Francois-Phillippe Champagne in Cabinet. His role as yet uncertain.
John McCallum, the Minister for Refugees, will depart to take up an Ambassadorial post in China. He will be replaced by either Marco Mendicino or Adam Vaughan. Bill Blair and others may have to wait another turn.
The architecture of the Cabinet and the underlining gender parity dictates some choices that might otherwise be deferred. So also is the general lack of experience that an untested caucus brought as an offering for the PM. But this is what democratic elections produce in events like the 1984, 1993 and 2014 Canadian General Elections.
What the shuffle suggests is that the Trudeau government was content to just let things be in the post Harper defeat. But, the dynamics have changed. The government will be challenged going forward and some issues can no longer be left to solve themselves.