The Honourable Joe Volpe, Publisher
TORONTO - Only the Prime Minister can create Cabinet Ministers. We, the Public, provide him with the working material by electing his party members to the House of Commons from where he draws his Ministerial candidates.
Our involvement ends there. His choices are not subject to any Parliamentary Committee hearings or any other “approval process”. Observers and citizens can only ask “why John and not Joanne?” But it ends there. This is not the USA where Secretaries – Ministers – must first run the gauntlet of Congress/Senate hearings before they are confirmed in their posts.
The truth is that there is nothing that any individual MP can do that would compel the Prime Minister to choose him/her over a colleague. Such is the case in a majority government.
Gone are the days – if they ever existed – when Ministers had to demonstrate a competence in a particular area before they could be considered “worthy”.
Given the role that Ministers have in shaping Canada’s future and our collective identity in it, some might resent that. I am not one of them.
Cabinets are much more about symbolism and messaging than they are about “building”. For that, we have Deputy Ministers, whose task it is to ensure that the day to day affairs of the Nation are properly discharged.
Sometimes, they are about the “ground game”, the political adeptness of individuals to convince the public, garner support for the government and, yes, votes for the Party. Without the ground game and the appropriate symbols, even the most competent of governments have a difficult time to survive.
No Prime Minister forgets the importance of symbols with which the electorate identifies, or ignores the need to establish an on-the-ground infrastructure. Policy goals and public buy-in dictate on going nutrition of the Base upon which a responsible government relies for longevity.
For the Corriere Canadese, Toronto’s third longest running daily newspaper, the inclusion of person-symbols from the readership we serve (Canadians of Italian origin) in Canada’s Cabinet represents the extent to which that readership is viewed as part of the Canadian fabric.
We did not see any in this latest shuffle.
Yet, there is no shortage of “talent” – professional, entrepreneurial and “social” – among the eleven MPs elected from our segment of the Canadian community. Hard-working and dedicated, even. So a recent National Post article described one of those MPs, Francesco Sorbara, from Vaughan.
Gender Parity, Diversity, Visible Minorities, etcetera … it is all Identity Politics. Regrettably, we continue to be overlooked.
Perhaps the Government is not offering up any policies for Canadian growth and development that require our support. We continue to be Canadians nonetheless.