Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Josée Verner named Minister of
Canadian Heritage

The new Minister of Canadian Heritage is Josée Verner, formerly Minister of International Co-operation and Minister for La Francophonie and Official Languages. Prime Minister Stephen Harper shuffled his cabinet today. Verner replaces Bev Oda in the portfolio. Heritage is important to the magazine industry since under it contains crucial magazine support programs such as the publications assistance program (postal subsidy) and the Canada Magazine Fund as well as funding for the Canada Council.

She's got some good things going for her -- a comfortably bilingual francophone and a woman with lots of staff and policy experience. But her focus will probably be on the run up to the election, whenever it might be, particularly in Québec as it celebrates its 400th anniversary and hosts the Francophonie meeting in Quebec later next year. It makes one wonder if she'll pay as much attention to those important departmental files as they require. Whether she will be a strong minister is an open question. Those who were critical of Bev Oda may find that they should have been careful what they wished for. Verner's rise in the cabinet is doubtless in part because she was one of the prime minister's early supporters.

Verner was first elected as a Member of Parliament in January 2006, from the riding of Louis-St-Laurent after a number of years in Québec politics, working forformer Premier Robert Bourassa and for the deputy speaker of Québec’s National Assembly. She had been in the federal cabinet since February 2006, when she was appointed as the Minister of International Co-operation and Minister for La Francophonie and Official Languages; later, her duties were expanded to include being spokesperson for the Economic Development Agency of Canada for the Region of Québec responsibility for the Official Languages portfolio. She served as the chair of the Québec caucus for the Conservative Party of Canada.

Excerpt from Toronto Star report of the shuffle:
Heritage Minister Bev Oda takes over International Cooperation. Josee Verner moves to Heritage after an undistinguished stint as minister of international cooperation, where she drew fire for not doing a better job of telling the story of Canada’s development efforts in Afghanistan.
Here is a letter of welcome that Magazines Canada sent to the new minister.

Two after-the-appointment analyses from the Globe and Mail:
Verner inherits tough tasks
A low profile despite years of experience



Anonymous Anonymous said...

Verner's appointment is good for Quebec and bad for the rest of Canada.

She will be pressured to favour her home province, particularly her native city.

Look for Quebec and Quebec City to eat up gobs of cultural subsidies.

And all this with Harper's approval.

As always, the rest of Canada gets the shaft.

4:20 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

You can’t win your election unless you win
the quebec vote, doesnt take Einstein to
know that.

I think that It is a good thing to have a minister of Canadian heritage who is able to speak and understand both official languages.

it’s sad to see what the previous comment said, sounds like closed minded and racist

keep up the good work

8:19 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

What's sad is ignorance of the facts.

First, you CAN win an election without a majority of the Quebec vote. Jean Chretien did it twice.

Second, Quebec has about 18% of the Canadian population yet receives about 50%, if not more, of subsidies.

Third, you want closed minded and racist?

Go to Herouxville where the town recently made a laughing stock of itself banning, among other things, Sikh children from carrying ceremonial daggers to school.

That's even though there are no Sikh residents in that town and the Supreme Court ruled long ago that Sikhs can carry daggers.

12:50 am  

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