Copyright © Graeme MacKay. Please check for MacKay's posting and publication rules by clicking here.
Wednesday February 8, 2006
Two astonishing cabinet appointments were among
Stephen Harper's first acts as prime minister Monday but
they may just be obscuring a far more interesting gambit.

Mr. Harper's 27-member cabinet marks another deliberate
step toward the pragmatic middle and away from the new
Conservative party's ideological roots, say a trio of experts.

All the hue and cry over floor-crossing Liberal David
Emerson and unelected, soon-to-be-senator Michael Fortier
vaulting straight onto the Tory front bench merely drives
home the point.

"This seems to be a clear nod toward quite a pragmatic,
centrist style of government," said Allan Tupper, a political
scientist at the University of British Columbia.

Put another way, the old grassroots Reform party is dead,
dead, dead.

"This is the final transition away from Reform," said Faron
Ellis, a career Reform-Alliance-Conservative party
chronicler who teaches at Lethbridge Community College.
"And I don't say that critically."

Much will be made over the next few days about some of
Mr. Harper's cabinet selections, not just Mr. Fortier and
Mr. Emerson.
Harper's cabinet a move to the centre
Other cartoons of interest