What’s in your Cabinet?
Reprinted with permission from ChristianGovernance.com
We are two years and a few months out from the next general election. A much-talked-about summertime shuffle of Mr. Harper’s cabinet occupied some print space for a couple of days and has thrown a few simple shadows on the wall. The public broadcaster (CBC) noted some younger faces, more women and a greater percentage of tweet-savvy smartphone users. Is this the sum of the changes?
Various commentators have pointed out that this cabinet remake came at a time when Mr. Harper really needed some diversion from the front-page Senate spending scandals that have plagued him these past few months. Others have talked about the need to hit a “reset” button and recapture the imagination of Canadian voters, especially the younger crowd. Have we embarked on a new journey with the Prime minister or are we just moving the deck chairs for a change of scenery?
I’d like to look at an aspect of the “new” cabinet that I’ve not seen discussed in other corners: what does the current cabinet have to say about the issues of abortion, family and sexual orientation? If Mr Harper is setting the course for the next two years, what can we expect from this troupe of seasoned politicians? They are articulate, energetic, popular among their base, loyal to the PM and formidable sparring partners, at least in the shadow-boxing of Question Period that has become such predictable political theatre.
Including the Prime Minister himself, his new cabinet has 39 faces and 39 voices ready to take on the world. A good many have been there for some time, while others are just climbing on board. They have the summer break to get up to speed on their new assignments, including presumably, learning who their “friends and enemies” are. It has always amazed me that folks with little background in a particular field can be expected to become experts in that field by virtue of their appointment. The wisdom and experience is expected to come with the hat. Already, I’ve heard a comment from a First Nations person that “we just get one minister educated about aboriginal issues and we have to start over with a new one”. Don’t worry; as in many political assignments, the bureaucracy being led by the new department head continues on its merry way, often with little intention of changing and no real reason to do so.
But where do these folks stand on the issues of the sanctity of human life and the importance of traditional values regarding sexuality?
- 8 out of 39 (21%) voted in favour of C-279, the Transgendered Bill, now before the Senate. It passed through committee stage and 2nd Reading in the House with barely a whimper and social conservatives were unable to prevail upon the government to hold the line on this bill. In the end, 17 “Conservatives” voted for it, joining the socialist opposition.
- 15 out of 39 (38%) current cabinet ministers voted against Rod Bruinooge’s C-510 (Roxanne’s Law against coercion to abort) in 2010.
- 26 out of 39 (67%) voted against Stephen Woodworth’s Motion 312 which called on Parliament to have a discussion about when human life begins.
- Only 13 out of 39 (33 %) maintained a prolife, profamily stance on all three of these votes, so the PM has built a cabinet he can mostly rely on to “manage” (or avoid) issues like these and not embarrass the government by bringing them up.
The greater tragedy is the potential cabinet ministers who were bypassed. One has to assume some of these talented individuals could have made a significant contribution to a more family-friendly cabinet had they not been linked to the very cause the PM has “spent his political career trying to avoid [his words]”: protection of the unborn. Men like Maurice Vellacott, Brad Trost, Leon Benoit, Stephen Woodworth, Rod Bruinooge, Mark Warawa, Rob Anders and Brian Storseth. MP Kelly Block, the bright light from Saskatchewan, would have raised the profile of women without sacrificing the need to protect unborn women.
These and other brave MPs who have made a point of doing what’s right have earned a place in history, if not in the 2013 government cabinet. There is, no doubt, a lot of underused talent in the House but it would be nice to see respect for human life given the recognition it deserves.
Now that the cabinet has been unveiled, it’s time to get on our knees and pray for these men and women: those who have been appointed and those who have not. Just because the past record is disappointing doesn’t mean the future will be as well. We know the pressures of governmental responsibility are great and criticism flows freely from all sides. May the great God—who formed us all—work in the hearts of these men and in our hearts as citizens of this nation to “will and do of His good pleasure”. We in the CHP have both the opportunity and the responsibility to offer voters and principled politicians a choice in the days ahead. Instead of pragmatic power-plays to manipulate bloc voting, we offer solid, consistent policies based on the timeless truths of our Judeo-Christian scriptures (the Bible). Those who want to help Canada move beyond partisan posturing to truth-based service to our country will find a home in the Christian Heritage Party of Canada.