Federal cabinet shuffle on Monday, Jim Flaherty to stay in finance: reports

Andy Radia

It's time to do the shuffle.

Prime Minister Stephen Harper will shuffle his cabinet at 11 a.m. (EST) on Monday -- at Rideau Hall -- as part of his government's re-set heading into the 2015 election.

According to a tweet, it appears that the prime minister will give us all a sneak preview at 10 a.m.

Here's what political watchers will be watching for:

1. Who's staying put?

The Huffington Post's Althia Raj is reporting that several key portfolios will remain unchanged.

She's learned that Finance Minister Jim Flaherty, Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird and Treasury Board president Tony Clement will keep their jobs.

[ Related: Speculation about Jim Flaherty’s future heats up ]

And, the Canadian Press is reporting that "Public Works Minister Rona Ambrose, Heritage Minister James Moore, Human Resources Minister Diane Finley and junior minister Maxime Bernier are all moving to new portfolios."

2. The departure of the dinosaurs

There's been a sense that, in the past, senior cabinet posts were filled with what some pundits called 'grumpy old men' or what writer Lawrence Martin calls "dinosaurs."

Whatever you call them, it looks like some of them will be relieved of their duties.

Vic Toews announced last week that he was retiring from politics while Environment Minister Peter Kent, House leader Peter Van Loan and Justice Minister Rob Nicholson are rumoured to be out.

"With the Smithsonian collection gone, the Conservatives will have a newer, fresher, more modern look," Martin recently wrote for iPolitics.

"It has to help them. Some of the veterans have been effective at times, but they’ve been around too long and change is overdue. The Conservative tent is shrinking and fresh blood is needed to give the party hope for renewal."

3. Fresh blood

That fresh blood that Martin speaks of will likely include Michelle Rempel, 33, who has been one of the government's top performers as the parliamentary secretary to minister of environment.

Other youngsters poised for promotions include Pierre Poilievre, 34 Chris Alexander, 44, Kellie Leitch, 42 and Shelly Glover, 46 who have all served admirably as parliamentary secretaries.

On Monday morning Prime Minister Harper tweeted a hint about who the newcomers might be:

[ Related: Can a cabinet shuffle help the Conservatives change the channel? ]

CTV News political analyst Scott Reid suggests the newcomers won't be given senior posts.

"They’re not senior and they haven’t been given a lot of responsibility in the past, so you don’t dump them info foreign affairs, you don’t dump them into finance because, frankly, you want to bring people along and nurture them and give them a chance to develop their talents," he told CTV last week.

4. Peter MacKay watch

One of the biggest questions of the cabinet shuffle is what will Harper do with Defence Minister Peter MacKay.

The likable MP was once seen as a rising star in Ottawa — some even predicted that he would, one day, replace Harper as the leader of the Conservative Party. But, over the past couple of years, MacKay's stock has dropped after a series of gaffes and blunders.

Will Harper keep him in defence or move him to a lower-profile, less challenging roll?

Both CTV News and CBC News are reporting that MacKay will likely be moved to Public Safety or Justice.

(Photo courtesy of the Canadian Press)

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