Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Stephen Harper Says No Cabinet Shuffle, Prorogation until Mid-Term

Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Stephen Harper Says No Cabinet Shuffle, Prorogation until Mid-Term

Article excerpt

Harper says no major changes until mid-term

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CALGARY - If Prime Minister Stephen Harper has his way, it will be next summer before there are any major changes to his government's front benches.

Speaking on an Alberta radio show Thursday, Harper ruled out both a major cabinet shuffle and prorogation of the House of Commons until the government reaches the halfway point of its majority mandate.

Prorogation is when the legislature "resets" itself with a throne speech and new bills. Harper said he considered the move, but decided against it for the time being.

"I didn't see any reason to do it right now. We've still got a number of pieces of legislation we do want to pass," Harper told host Dave Rutherford, whose show is broadcast provincewide on CHQR and CHED.

"I think what I am more likely to do ... is probably in mid-term -- we will probably have a new session mid-term."

Harper said the performance of cabinet ministers will be assessed halfway through his government's mandate and that's when any big changes will be made.

"We'll take a look at how everybody is performing and make some major changes at that point," he said. "But I think between now and then let's keep everybody focused on the job we got elected to do."

Harper's Conservatives won a majority in May 2011 and the fixed-election-date law calls for the next vote in October 2015.

Under the Constitution, the Governor General can dissolve Parliament and call an election at any time and Harper has suggested he is flexible about the fixed date if it conflicts with provincial elections. If the timelines hold, however, the halfway point in the mandate would be August of next year.

Cabinet shuffle talk heated up this week following the resignation of embattled International Co-operation Minister Bev Oda.

While it was expected that hole might be filled as part of a wide-ranging shakeup, Harper only made a minor tweak. …

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