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Harper moves heavyweights Baird, Clement in cabinet shakeup

John Baird (L) is sworn-in as Canada's Minister of Foreign Affairs as Prime Minister Stephen Harper (C) and Governor general David Johnston look on during a ceremony at Rideau Hall in Ottawa.

Chris Wattie/REUTERS/Chris Wattie/REUTERS

Stephen Harper's first majority cabinet is his biggest ever -- shifting star performers to new roles, with John Baird in Foreign Affairs and Tony Clement at Treasury Board.

Mr. Clement's task, unveiled at Rideau Hall late Wednesday morning, will be squeezing savings from Ottawa's deficit-ridden books.

A little over an hour after unveiling the cabinet, the Conservative Leader appointed three failed political candidates to the Senate, including Larry Smith, Fabian Manning and Josée Verner.

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The Prime Minister has also brought back former black sheep Maxime Bernier as Minister of State for Small Business. Mr. Bernier left cabinet about three years ago after he left NATO documents at his then-girlfriend's house.

Mr. Harper's giving more prominence to Toronto, where the Tories made big gains on May 2.

Former Toronto investment banker and stock-market regulator Joe Oliver has been appointed Natural Resources Minister.

Mr. Harper has slightly increased his cabinet.

There are 39 ministers, one more than before his shuffle. It's now bigger than the 38-minister cabinet of former Liberal prime minister Paul Martin, whom Mr. Harper once suggested had too many in his ranks.

At first count there are nine new faces in cabinet.

Former Mulroney-era minister Bernard Valcourt is also back in a minister's chair, winning the job of shepherding the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency (ACOA). He was re-elected May 2, 18 years after he was last defeated.

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Finance Minister Jim Flaherty stays put, as do a slew of other veteran ministers.

Though he remains at Citizenship and Immigration, Jason Kenney's been given additional responsibilities. He will now chair the powerful cabinet committee on operations, which helps shape government strategy and planning.

Tossed out of cabinet are Alberta's Rob Merrifield, former minister of state for transport, as well as New Brunswick's Rob Moore, former minister of state for small business and tourism.

Ontario's Peter Van Loan is headed back to the House Leader's job, where he'll help guide legislation through the House.

Former Ontario Provincial Police commissioner Julian Fantino moves to become an associate minister of defence.

Quebec is getting a relatively generous serving of ministers given the province only elected five Tories. Four of the province's MPs are in cabinet.

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Quebec lieutenant Christian Paradis is moving to the Industry Department from Natural Resources.

Denis Lebel, also from Quebec, becomes Transport Minister.

Gail Shea becomes Revenue Minister and New Brunswick's Keith Ashfield becomes Fisheries Minister.

From B.C., Ed Fast becomes Trade Minister and Richmond's Alice Wong gets the nod to serve as minister of state for seniors.

Newfoundland and Labrador get its first cabinet seat since 2008, with Peter Penashue appointed Intergovernmental Affairs Minister.

Bal Gosal, the newly elected MP from Bramalea-Gore-Malton, has been appointed Minister of State for Sport. He replaces former minister Gary Lunn, who was defeated in the May 2 election.

Others staying put this shuffle include: Mr. Flaherty, Defence Minister Peter MacKay, Public Safety Minister Vic Toews, Public Works Minister Rona Ambrose, Human Resources Minister Diane Finley, International Co-operation Minister Bev Oda, Agricultural Minister Gerry Ritz, Environment Minister Peter Kent, Labour Minister Lisa Raitt, Heritage Minister James Moore and Health Minister Leona Aglukkaq.

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About the Authors
Parliamentary reporter

Steven Chase has covered federal politics in Ottawa for The Globe since mid-2001, arriving there a few months before 9/11. He previously worked in the paper's Vancouver and Calgary bureaus. Prior to that, he reported on Alberta politics for the Calgary Herald and the Calgary Sun, and on national issues for Alberta Report. More

Ontario politics reporter

Jane Taber is a reporter at Queen’s Park. After spending three years reporting from the Atlantic, she has returned to Ontario and back to writing about her passion, politics. She spent 25 years covering Parliament Hill for the Ottawa Citizen, the National Post and the Globe and Mail. More

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