The Unsexy Comeuppance of Lisa Raitt
Jeez, why don’t you tell us how you really feel, Wikipedia? (This edit was made at 11:09 a.m. and remained untouched as of 6 p.m. Tuesday )
With respect to Tuesday’s political game of musical chairs on the Hill, we tend to agree with Jack Layton on a key point: by demoting Lisa Raitt from the Ministry of Natural Resources to the Ministry of Labour, what exactly is ol’ sharky-eyed Harper saying about an honest day’s hard work, much less the department that sets its standards?
Probably that it isn’t exactly “sexy.” Not like a shortcoming of medical isotopes, anyway.
The former head of the Toronto Port Authority saw her noggin roll at Parliament Hill today, down the stairs, past a few dusty bookshelves, across the grimy, unswept floors beside the loading dock, and down, down, down the garbage chute to the Ministry of Labour—right into Rona Ambrose’s lap. It’s a punitive measure that the controversy-friendly Raitt, whether thanks to allegations of mismanagement or political libel at T.P.A., or her propensity to cheer giddily whenever a melting ice cap is mentioned, in all her illustrious appointments, must have seen coming in one way or another. This time, as anyone with a working knowledge of last summer’s headlines is duly aware, the big, ugly axe came down after a spectacularly ill-advised turn of phrase (of a medical isotope shortage, she said: “It’s sexy. Radioactive leaks. Cancer.”) and a magnificent example of what not to do with sensitive government materials (leave them at CTV). Months after, mind you, but whatever.
Otherwise, Harper’s prorogation-season cleaning—described by the prime minister’s office as a “fine-tuning,” which no doubt plays into all that “re-calibrating” that he’s supposedly up to—is, at best, a perfunctory move, changing little in the power dynamics of Harper’s hard working minority goverrnment. In summary: Peter Van Loan moves to International Trade, Stockwell Day moves to the Treasury Board, Rona Ambrose moves way, way up from Labour to Public Works, Vic Toews lands in Public Safety, Christian Paradis fills Raitt’s obviously capable shoes at Natural Resources, Jean-Pierre Blackburn heads up Veterans’ Affairs, Keith Ashfield shuffles in as head of National Revenue, Diane Ablonczy becomes Minister of State-Seniors, and Rob Moore—drumroll, please—becomes Minister of State-Small Business and Tourism.
The others? Finance, Defence, Foreign Affairs? Not so much. It’s a “shuffling of the same deck of cards,” as Michael Ignatieff sees it, leaving the heavies right where they are.
But really, poor Lisa Raitt. Of all her critics, Wikipedia, that academically-maligned aggregator of public knowledge, seems to be the most unforgiving.