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What does a Fed Shuffle Mean for Toronto?


As early as yesterday, rumours began to surface that the Harper government was considering a cabinet shuffle. In particular, the environmental portfolio.

Today, Harper has called his cabinet ministers back from vacation to Ottawa, with little doubt that this is the precursor to an announcement. And strangely absent from the roll-call, Environmental Minister Rona Ambrose.

So can a cabinet shuffle really make a difference at the municipal level?

When it comes to the hot topics these days at all levels of government, its the environment. Its no secret that Harper's current Environment minister has been slammed for being weak in the job. And this won't play well for Harper, who's been trying to make himself more green, quietly downplaying the gutting of the portfolio, while loudly touting his new Clean Air Act.

Add this to Stephane Dion's recent win of the Liberal leadership on a largely green platform, and you've got yourself a regular barn-burner.

So what about Toronto? Since David Miller took office in 2003, he's been talking about revitalizing the waterfront in Toronto. That, as we all know, hasn't happened yet. One of the biggest criticisms of his first mandate was his lack of action while in office.

With his re-election, he's been given a new mandate, and more recently, new powers. He's also been burdened with expectations that he better step up and produce some of the results he's talked so much about. As criticism of the waterfront grows, its up to the Mayor to do something about it.

And this might just be the opportunity Miller and the city have been waiting for.

With a new Minister moved into the environmental portfolio at the federal level, and green politics being the hot topic of the day, the city could be in for a windfall from on high. As the Clean Air Act has left many shaking their heads with dismay, Harper has to move to a more local level. The biggest of them being the Toronto Waterfront Revitalization. By getting directly involved and moving attention from the negatives of the federal role to the positives of helping Canada's largest city breath life back into its dilapidated waterfront, he scores points across the board.

This is a potential win-win for the Feds and Toronto. Its only left to see what happens next.


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