The players change, not the game: Cabinet shuffle in Ottawa

di Joe Volpe del January 12, 2021

TORONTO - He did not look happy to me. The honourable Navdeep Bains, now formerly Minister of Innovation Science and Innovation, went on Facebook with a video explaining why he is no longer in Cabinet and why he will not seek re-election, in a word: family. Whatever the reason(s), most people are willing to pave the exit with kindness.

However, the political cauldron is in a constate of bubbling and boiling; and it hates a vacuum. Brampton has just become a void to fill.

First up? Jagmeet Singh, leader of the NDP federally. He is a former Brampton MPP and reputed friend of Bains. He did not contest his home constituency in the 2019 election out of deference to Bains and to the community’s interest in maintaining a voice in Cabinet.

Suddenly, the other day, after Bains had made his decision, he appeared at a protest in downtown Toronto to lead the troops against the intemperate, insensitive inaction by the Conservative [provincial] government on Long Term Care homes. Tendercare it is not. Trudeau’s fault, he said.

It would seem that Mr. Singh is trying to make himself “relevant” at the expense of his provincial counterpart, Andrea Horwath, whose sparks on provincial matter have yet to ignite a fullblown reaction to the fumbling of issues by Queen’s Park. Maybe he is looking to return to his former domain.

The Prime Minister’s Office is more concerned about containing the message until the “significance of the resignation” is forgotten. And so, the GTA is now focused on a new Minister, Omar Alghabra, in Transportation – not an insignificant position, so Ontario cannot complain… too much. He is an ally of Bains and a leader in his own right among the Muslim community. The Axis of organizational strength represented by Sikhs and Muslims working together (through their Gurdwaras and Mosques which have replaced the more “traditional” Churches and Synagogues as hubs of political activism) is expected “to hold”.

The real power though rests in Quebec. Marc Garneau has been appointed to Global Affairs and Jean-Francois Champagne replaces Bains in ISI. From those two perches, Quebecers can rest assured that some competent people will look out for their interests in turbulent times like those we live today.

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