By Aaron Wherry - Friday, February 15, 2013 - 0 Comments
Brent Toderian wants the federal government to establish a minister of cities.
If positioned, led, and funded properly, a ministry of cities could be the place where a new national strategy on transportation, both within and between cities, could finally be born. A place where a true, long-overdue visionary approach to national urban housing could be re-built. A place where everything from smart taxes, urban mobility and infrastructure deficits, to urban sprawl, better suburbs and inner-city transformations could be better understood and debated.
A ministry of state for urban affairs previously existed in the 1970s.
By Aaron Wherry - Thursday, January 19, 2012 at 10:35 AM - 0 Comments
The Prime Minister raised the issue of MP pensions in his interview with the CBC earlier this week, but, as the Finance Minister has noted, it is beyond the official purview of the government. Today the Globe reports that support for the reforms will come from the Conservative caucus. Tony Clement meanwhile muses of leading by example.
“I think you’ve got to be fair to the employee [the MP] but you also have to be fair to the taxpayer,” he told CTV’s Don Martin. “We are very cognizant of that.”
He added that no decisions have been made and that already the government is leading by example as MP and cabinet-minister salaries have been frozen this year. MPs earn $157,000 a year; cabinet ministers make $233,247 and the Prime Minister earns $315,000.
Granted, whatever they are paid, those cabinet ministers presently comprise the second-largest ministry and second-largest cabinet in history—the minister now seven larger and the cabinet now 12 larger than the groups Mr. Harper presented upon first taking office. Back then, one of Mr. Harper’s advisors enthused that reducing the cabinet from 39 (as it was under Paul Martin) to 27 would save $15 to $20 million per year. Presumably, reducing it from 39 (as it now is under Mr. Harper) to 27 would save roughly the same amount now.
By Aaron Wherry - Wednesday, January 5, 2011 at 3:23 PM - 25 Comments
In his first news conference as a minister of state, Ted Menzies is asked to explain why the ministry is so much larger than it was when the current government first took office and proceeds to offer a number of words in response. For the sake of saving readers some time, I’ll bold the words that seem most relevant to the question.
Well, first of all, I’m honored to be part of this cabinet. Many of us have played a role, a pivotal role, many parliamentary secretaries that don’t have a seat at the cabinet table. We are in some very unique and challenging times right now and the more shoulders behind the wheel that we have, I think, will help us. There has been some many – many challenges we faced. We feel that we have done a good job. We need to stay the course and keep moving towards what Canadians have asked us to do and that is get back to balanced budgets and whether, you know, the numbers at the cabinet table — we have seen more historically in the past. I don’t think that is as big an issue as the quality that we have there, the strength in this cabinet that are working in unison, as recognized by some of the papers in the U.S. just in the last couple of days. Canada is the envy at getting our fiscal house in order, encouraging new businesses to invest. That is the important thing. We are talking about jobs here today. The more we can do to encourage jobs in Canada, I think the better off we will all be.
Our Andrew Coyne notes that Mackenzie King made it through his challenging times with a ministry of 17. More recently, when Mr. Harper became Prime Minister he named a 27-member ministry (with 26 parliamentary secretaries). He now has a 38-member ministry (with 25 parliamentary secretaries).
By Aaron Wherry - Tuesday, January 4, 2011 at 5:08 PM - 20 Comments
The Liberals and NDP are both taking issue with the size of Mr. Harper’s cabinet and ministry (though previously two separate things, Mr. Harper doesn’t make any distinction). As noted below, it is once more one of the largest in this nation’s history—including the Prime Minister, the government House leader, the leader of the government in the Senate, 24 ministers and 11 ministers of state.
When Mr. Harper unveiled a ministry of 32 in February 2006, he said “the structure is designed to promote accountable, efficient and effective government—more focus and purpose; less process and cost.”
In an interview with the Toronto Star at the time, Derek Burney, chief of Mr. Harper’s transition team, projected the reduction from Paul Martin’s set-up—cabinet of 33, ministry of 39—would save between $15 and $20-million per year. The Star’s report after the jump. Continue…
By Aaron Wherry - Monday, August 30, 2010 at 2:53 PM - 0 Comments
Unnoticed in Mr. Harper’s shuffling of cabinet earlier this month was this: by leaving the title of minister of state for status of women with Public Works Minister Rona Ambrose, the Prime Minister has opted to go with a more streamlined cabinet and ministry. Previously, when Helena Guergis held the title of minister of state for status of women, both the ministry and the cabinet numbered 38 (one short, in both cases, of the all-time highs). With Ms. Ambrose holding two titles, the cabinet and ministry number a more svelte 37, a decrease of 2.6%.
While some of his predecessors have made a distinction between the ministry and the cabinet, Mr.Harper has treated them as the same. The current cabinet includes 25 ministers (at an additional $75,516 in salary each) and 10 ministers of state (at an additional $56,637 in salary each). With Greg Rickford’s recent promotion, there are also 27 parliamentary secretaries (at an additional $15,200 in salary each).
The Liberal shadow cabinet somehow numbers 42, but only the opposition house leader ($37,500) and whip ($27,200) draw bonuses. The rest do it merely for the acclaim.
When the Liberals and NDP signed a coalition accord in December 2008, they agreed to a 25-member cabinet: the prime minister plus eighteen Liberals and six New Democrats.