Harper Cabinet Shuffle: Swedish for Common Sense Revolution

The Prime Minister’s cabinet retooling is complete. Funny how the loss of a key member or three (Lawrence Cannon, Josee Verner, Jean-Pierre Blackburn) can set up a really high stakes version of musical chairs. Sources say that’s EXACTLY how it happened, by the way, with Tory MPs gathered in a room with 39 chairs. They all circled them nervously, while the Prime Minister played Nick Lowe’s “Cruel To Be Kind” on the piano. When he stopped — Yahtzee! Maxime Bernier had successfully knocked Rob Moore to the ground, and taken his seat as Minister of State for Small Business and Tourism.

Maxime Bernier: “Hon, you haven’t seen the Allen key, have you?

It was Bernier who’d made musical chairs necessary in the first place. He’d bought the Prime Minister’s new cabinet at the IKEA outlet in Nepean last night, but forgot the instructions at his girlfriend’s house when he left in haste this morning. By the way, IKEA  has an excellent selection of parliamentary cabinets, including the popular “Sinterblok,” as well as the twin-cabinets, the “Deef” and “Bakker.” Prime Minister Harper was hoping for the high-end, well-appointed “Sennit,” but Tony Clement, who’d had a premonition he was going to be seated in the “President of the Treasury Board” chair, asked that the Prime Minister relent and settle for the cheapest cabinet available, the finely trimmed “Budjitt.”

But, back to musical chairs. Bev Oda never did get up from her seat and remains Minister For Term Paper Grading International Co-operation Minister. John Baird flexed his considerable muscles of diplomacy and convinced a harried Julian Fantino to “get the hell out of my seat, you glorified mall cop!” Fantino shifted his buns one seat over, to become Assistant Minister of Defence. Uh, Assistant to the Minister of Defence.

Among others to find chairs they’d already been seated in were Jim Flaherty (Finance) and Peter MacKay (Defence). They both hovered over the Finance Minister’s chair, but Flaherty’s newly re-soled budget shoes gave him the agility of Hines Ward to MacKay’s Ralph Macchio. (Proud to say, I had to look that last reference up)

Magnanimously, the PM glanced up from the piano and waited for a couple of Toronto-area MPs to hover over vacant seats, proving that, while he won’t dance to Toronto’s tune, Toronto can damn well stop dancing and sit when he commands.

All in all, a nice, big shiny cabinet. Apparently, it ties the record shared by Brian Mulroney and Paul Martin. Maybe on the next trip to IKEA, they can set the stage for a record membership, by buying the Deluxe “Kokkis.”