In a move to... I don't know - spice things up a little - Prime Minister Stephen Harper announced today that he was moving around the chairs in the cabinet room a little. It's nothing special, unless you consider that two high-profile Conservative MPs were elevated to high-profile cabinet positions in what could be seen as a cynical attempt to bolster support in a region that the Conservatives had yet to enjoy much success in as preparation for a potential spring election. But like I said, no big deal.
In a political game of musical chairs, Peter Kent has been moved to the Environmental portfolio, replacing the retired Calgary MP Jim Prentice. Replacing Kent as Minister of State of Foreign Affairs is another Calgary MP Diane Ablonczy. Then, replacing Ablonczy as Minister of State for Seniors is newly elected MP Julian Fantino, who many people thought would get the Minister of Public Safety slot, which didn't turn out to be the case. Additionally, Alberta MP Ted Menzies gets to leave the back-bench behind to serve as Minister of State for Finance.
And that's about it. A lot of hype for not a lot of movement. It feels like Harper's put Fantino upfront in a temp cabinet position until something better opens up. Kent, meanwhile, has the unenviable task of defending the government's pro-oil sands/questioning global warming stand on the environment, but I doubt he'll bring anything to the job that would separate him from his predecessors. (He is, after all, the fifth Conservative Environment Minister in five years.)
So is that new election smell in the air? I don't think so, but I guess we'll see when Parliament's back.