By Scott Costen
Scott Brison’s sudden departure from cabinet could catapult Queens County’s federal representative into the government’s front benches.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is planning a cabinet shuffle tomorrow that will almost certainly include a promotion for one of Nova Scotia’s other MPs. There is widespread speculation that Bernadette Jordan (South Shore-St. Margaret’s) is one of the top contenders for a portfolio.
In a Jan. 10 story, the Globe and Mail’s Bill Curry reported: “A Liberal source, who was granted anonymity by The Globe because they were not authorized to comment publicly on the matter, said a possible replacement for Mr. Brison is Bernadette Jordan.”
A day later, Joan Bryden of the Canadian Press indicated “the heavy betting among Liberal insiders is on Bernadette Jordan or Sean Fraser.”
Fraser, like Jordan, is a rookie MP who became a parliamentary secretary last summer. Unlike his South Shore colleague, Fraser is a millennial whose 35th birthday is still ahead of him.
Trudeau has routinely shown a preference for youthful faces, even in cases where experience — or basic competence — are clearly lacking. (Hello, Maryam Monsef). Perhaps this gives the edge to Fraser, who represents Peter MacKay’s former riding of Central Nova.
Also worth considering is the prime minister’s strict adherence to 50/50 gender balance in cabinet. Bryden, in her report, suggested tomorrow’s shuffle will be “very small, involving the fewest possible number of changes needed.” If that proves to be the case, promoting Jordan would upend gender parity in favour of women.
Will Trudeau, a self-described feminist, go with Fraser (or another male MP) and retain gender parity? Or will he tip the balance by choosing Jordan, the province’s only female MP?
Whichever Nova Scotia MP is promoted to cabinet tomorrow, there’s no guarantee they’ll be taking over from Brison as Treasury Board president.
David Akin, chief political correspondent for Global News, has described “a bold idea floated by some in Ottawa” that would see Catherine McKenna moved from Environment and Climate Change to Treasury Board. The Nova Scotia MP elevated to cabinet would then take over McKenna’s old portfolio.
Under this scenario, the logical choice is Fraser, who is currently serving as McKenna’s parliamentary secretary.