This rather self indulgent and nerdy thought process has made me realize how lucky I am to know so many talented people, at least on Twitter. Andrew Coyne has said/written several times how large and unwieldy our Federal cabinet has become. I’ve often wondered how I would do things differently, not that I’m likely to ever be in the position of creating a cabinet. I’ve limited myself to people I know in real life or at least communicated with on Twitter or Face Book so this by no means a dream cabinet. My dream cabinet would require a necromancer and some means to make fictional characters real.
Each minister should be the one leading the policy debate and development of their portfolio. The minister would be accountable to Parliament not the Prime Minister to the point having confidence votes on ministerial performance. Ministers would appoint one Parliamentary secretary to assist them. The goal is a leaner, meaner more flexible administration.
Prime Minister and Minister of National Defence: Me
Traditionally the prime minister was also minister of External Affairs but I would be more comfortable at Defence. The PM should be considered first among equals in the House or at the cabinet table and not the jumped up presidential wannabe that the current PM appears to be. For the Prime Minister’s Office I would select Chris Loblaw as Chief of Staff, I know he isn’t a sycophant. My policy ideas for Defence could be another post so I won’t go into it. As Parliamentary Secretary for both portfolio’s I would select Cedric Richards, a gentleman with intelligence and a sense of humour.
Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Constitutional Affairs: Naomi Sayer
To me these two things go together as dealing with Provinces, Territories and First Nations’ Leaders should be someone with seniority in government. This department would be responsible for fulfilling Federal responsibilities in Confederation and the Treaties with First Nations. It would work with other departments to provide the services that have been guaranteed in law. Naomi is passionate, intelligent and knowledgeable for this role and would shake things up to get results.
Finance: Mike Moffat
I have never met Mike but have learnt a lot from him on Twitter about economics, monetary policy and of course dodge ball.
Treasury Board and Custodian of Crown Assets: Jesse Hellman
Another person I learn a lot from. I add the custodian of Crown assets to this as it seems to me a natural fit.
Heritage Canada: Sean Quigley
Sean has drive and knowledge of the arts, communications and their ability to generate job opportunities. The communications regulation functions of the current department would be removed to another portfolio. It might be wise to have education coordination between jurisdictions dealt with here.
International Trade: Rebecca Todd
I’m betting if we give this person a Global series jet she would generate a lot of business for Canada and its trading partners.
Economic Development: Joel Adams
This department would absorb the current industry, labour, Federal regulators and all those regional development agencies. Joel is working to develop London’s economy and will most like create a hacker’s studio in every community across Canada.
Citizen Services: Chris Moss
Combining departments and parts of departments that deal with individual citizens or residents would be concentrated here with local offices to make getting all needed services simple and frustration free. I chose Chris because she is goal oriented and inspirational.
Veteran’s Affairs and Poverty Reduction: Abe Oudshorn
Most of what Veteran’s will need comes from Citizen Services but some needs will be better coming from a dedicated department that understands what Veteran’s have gone through. The poverty reduction component is for meeting the needs of housing and other basic needs of the most vulnerable. Abe is already heavily involved in the poverty aspect and would be great at co-ordinating a strategy with other departments and levels of government. This is one department that I would hope would dissolve one day for lack of need.
Health and Sports: Stuart Clark
With Stuart’s recent and current experience makes him uniquely qualified for this portfolio. His goal to increase fairness and lower costs and frustrations for people dealing with the system would have lasting benefits.
Foreign Affairs: Peter Fragiskatos
Another Global series jet will be needed to send Peter out to promote Canada, peace and Human Rights. He’s the person I know to reinvigorate Canada’s once elite civil service and restore our position as a leading middle power.
Environment: Chris Teller
Environment would include natural resources and energy as they all come from the environment. I would also put National Parks under this department to protect them for the original natural heritage purpose and not the entertainment function they seem to have now. This Chris is passionate about the environment and her country. I have never met her, but hope to someday.
Transport, Communications and Infrastructure: Amanda Stratton
As most infrastructure is related to transport or communications it is natural to have them in the same department. Amanda knows about transportation and communications and is a very capable person.
Canadian International Development Agency: Kelly McGregor
The third Global series jet goes to Kelly who will rush around the world helping people create startup small businesses to help lift them out of poverty.
Justice/Attorney General: Susan Toth
Susan is a highly capable and intelligent woman who understands the law and where it needs corrections. It would be interesting to see what she would do in this portfolio.
President of the Privy Council/Leader of the Government in the Commons/Chief Whip: Sue Clifford
Sue has a way of getting people to do things and is good with organizing. The whip portion wouldn’t be needed for anything except money bills.
Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness: Tammy Marche
I think having someone with compassion and empathy for this role would be good. Tammy I’m betting would actually get Canada ready for emergencies and make Corrections Canada actually about corrections. Hopefully she would be up for the Herculean challenge of fixing the RCMP’s problems.
Agriculture and Food Security: Jeff Bennet
I didn’t really choose Jeff for this job because he was well suited for it, I am not sure who I know would be good in this role. I chose Jeff to help be a cabinet peace keeper as I realize this group could fragment into warring tribes.
Revenue: Bob Hurst
I used to babysit Bob a long time ago in a city not far away. He already works for Revenue Canada but this is punishment for making me feel old. Congratulations on the baby daughter Bob.
Fisheries and Oceans: Kevin Labonte
Another person I haven’t actually met but I do know he is also passionate about the environment and his community. I feel this job should go to someone who will not see our fish stocks diminished or our navigable waters polluted.
Science and Technology: Sean Adamsson
I am a firm believer of science for the sake of discovery and the results ending up as unintended or unimagined technologies. Opening up new technologies can lead Canada to fulfilling its potential better than sticking to the current technologies. Canada is far behind on emerging technologies such as nanotubes or graphene. Sean understands technology and this role would well suit his abilities.
Immigration and Refugees: Matthew Elliot
Canada cannot survive without immigration but needs to smart about it. We cannot just bering in skilled people to fill our skills gaps, especially if it denies the country of origin of those skills. Refugees, sadly, are still going to be created and Canada needs to provide for them while trying to prevent the situations that create refugees. Matthew has brains and heart, both are needed for immigration and refugee policy.
For the sake of nepotism I would appoint my sister Sarah Gibson ambassador to Spain and no you can’t move the embassy to Grenada. Just try and keep Spain and Britain from going to war over Gibraltar. Other appointments I’ll leave to a select committee of the House, that includes Senators.
It would be interesting to see other people’s version of this. My choices are smarter and for the most part better educated than me. It would look different if I included just any Canadian alive today. I ignored regionalism, which is toxic and pandering to various groups, which is insulting to voter’s intellect or at least should be.