John Ivison, National Post

November 19, 2019

Who’s in Trudeau’s cabinet? It doesn’t matter, political power lies elsewhere

“That means what we are talking about is a shuffling of deckchairs – if not on the Titanic, then perhaps on the Queen Mary, a cruise ship that is permanently docked and no longer fit for purpose.”

It is incongruous that Justin Trudeau’s inner circle has too few Westerners, while Andrew Scheer’s has too many. Perhaps they should swap staff for a few days.

All eyes will be on the Liberal leader’s cabinet shuffle at Rideau Hall on Wednesday afternoon. But, to many observers, the confederacy arraigned around the cabinet table is as inconsequential as the deliberations in the House of Commons. Both cabinet and Parliament have been relegated to the role of rubber-stamping decisions taken elsewhere. The prime minister has surrounded himself with advisors of like mind and experience who act like a political praetorian guard.

As Donald Savoie, the country’s most eminent public administration academic, noted in his recent book Democracy in Canada, political power is no longer located in cabinet or in Parliament, but is now held by the prime minister and his immediate coterie of unelected advisors. In Trudeau’s case, virtually the same team that helped get him elected in 2015 will be re-confirmed as his closest political confidantes. Given the national unity issues this minority government is already facing, the preponderance of Ontario voices in that circle should be a concern to all Canadians.

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