Bev Oda resignation sparks cabinet shuffle chatter

Andy Radia
Politics Reporter
Canada Politics

Bev Oda's departure from the Harper government has set the stage for a summertime cabinet shuffle.

Oda, the minister of international cooperation, announced her resignation from politics Tuesday through a statement on her website.

The 67-year-old, who was thrust into the spotlight earlier this year for her champagne spending habits, will officially step down as Member of Parliament for the Ontario riding of Durham on July 31.

[ Related: Bev Oda stepping down as Member of Parliament ]

Rumours are already circulating about who might replace her in cabinet.

Rookie MP Kellie Leitch, a former surgeon from Ontario, seems to be the frontrunner.  Leitch, the parliamentary secretary to the minister of labour, has been an impressive MP despite her rookie status.

Other contenders for Oda's job are Alberta's Michelle Rempel and Ontario's Chris Alexander, who was once Canada's ambassador to Afghanistan.

Stephen Harper is also expected to make changes to other portfolios.

Defence minister Peter MacKay is one MP that's expected to be shuffled.  His questionable use of government helicopters and the F-35 procurement debacle could relegate the former Progressive Conservative party leader into a lower-profile post.

According to the Huffington Post, MacKay is rumoured to be switching jobs with Justice Minister Rob Nicholson.

Another high profile MP likely to be demoted is Indian Affairs Minister John Duncan, who failed in his handling of the Attawapiskat housing crisis last winter.

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According to Chantal Hébert of the Toronto Star, Duncan has been Harper's weakest aboriginal affairs minister to date.

"He was never a match for Jim Prentice or Chuck Strahl in terms of cabinet influence," she wrote.

"He is in way over his head in a role that will only become more challenging."

There's also speculation that industry Minister Christian Paradis and Transport Minister Denis Lebel will be switching jobs as well.

The shuffle is expected to be a minor one, however, with most of the high-profile cabinet posts remaining unchanged.