One of Joe Clark's first tasks is to appoint a cabinet. He will try, as did his predecessors, to strike a regional, ethnic
and ideological balance. At the same time, he must repay debts and stroke fragile egos. It will not be easy. Here are
a dozen leading candidates for cabinet posts, moving from east to west:
A former Liberal.
Scion of a wealthy Newfoundland family and MP from St.
John’s West for the past three years,
Crosbie is a punster who often seems a buffoon in Parliament. But the wisecracking exterior belies a shrewd mind. A fiscal conservative, he is a good bet for the finance portfolio, a post he once held in the Newfoundland provincial government.
47. First elected in 1957, McGrath, who holds the riding next to Crosbie’s, has been waiting a long time to exercise power. A red Tory and advocate of a strong central government, he will probably be handed a social portfolio such as health and welfare, where he would have to straighten the medicare mess. The father of six is also a keen advocate of children’s rights.
42. A United Church minister and MP from P.E.I. for the past 14 years, MacDonald is considered one of the nicest men in Parliament.
But he also sits on the far left of his party, a fact that scares some Tory cabinet-makers. He was once booted out of Clark’s shadow cabinet for bucking the party line. He is a candidate for secretary of state, the culture ministry.
As the only francophone the Tories managed to elect last week in Quebec,
LaSalle is a shoo-in for a cabinet post, possibly the department of regional economic expansion (DREE). A strong Quebec nationalist with ties to the Péquistes, LaSalle split publicly with Clark during the election campaign over the province’s claimed right to self-determination.
A cheerful — but plodding — Ottawa lawyer, Baker was Clark’s House leader in opposition and will likely perform the same function in government, piloting Conservative legislation through the Commons. As the ranking Tory MP from Ottawa, he will also spend a lot of time defending the civil service—his constituents—from cutbacks promised by Clark in the campaign.
53. Once a secretary in Conservative headquarters, fired by Diefenbaker for alleged disloyalty,
MacDonald has been the MP from Kingston for the past seven years and has carved out a national constituency for herself. Another red Tory, she will likely be handed the federal-provincial relations portfolio, which will put her in the thick of the Quebec referendum fight.
43. The Toronto media keep touting the city’s former “tiny perfect mayor” for big things in Clark’s cabinet. But Crombie has been something less than a spectacular success since coming to Ottawa last fall. He embarrassed his leader late last year by suggesting the Tories would make a deal with René Lévesque. To pay him back, Clark might stick him with the post office.
52. A Toronto-area MP for seven years,
Stevens made Clark Conservative leader when he swung his support that way at the 1976 convention.
Clark won’t forget the debt. But he may deny Stevens the post he wants—finance—because the Toronto business community would react negatively. A former Bay Street wheeler-dealer, Stevens stepped on a lot of toes on his way to making a million.
The MP from Saskatoon West, Hnatyshyn has emerged as a Tory star in recent years in the Commons. During the last Commons vote in 1976 on capital punishment he stuck to his abolitionist views despite enormous pressure from his pro-hanging constituency. He is also a civil libertarian and has lectured in law at the University of Saskatchewan. A natural for justice portfolio.
43. A former car dealer and MP from Vegreville, Alberta, for the past 11 years,
Mazankowski serves as a useful bridge between the old Diefenbaker Tories and the new Stanfield-Clark brand of Conservative. He has, in the past, voted for bilingualism but defended Len Jones’s right to run for the party leadership. He could take over the mammoth transport portfolio.
Fraser is a thoughtful, if somewhat boring, politician who made a weak run at the Tory leadership in 1976 but backed Clark after the first ballot. He has been the Conservatives’ labor critic in recent years. A moderate, he has resisted calls from the right wing of his party to ban strikes in essential services. The pressure may now increase.
62. One of just three MPs to back Clark for the leadership before the 1976 convention, McKinnon is definitely owed a cabinet post by Clark. The MP from Victoria and a retired army major, McKinnon is a staunch advocate of armed-forces expansion. He will likely get a chance to implement his views as minister of defence, replacing defeated Liberal Barney Danson. Ian Urquhart
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