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Embassy, February 8th, 2006
NEWS STORY
By Brian Adeba

Foreign Affairs, International Trade and CIDA ­ One Big Happy Family, Maybe

While there's some argument about internal resistance to the reintegration of foreign affairs, trade and development, the process is still haunted by the question of which ministers will have the most weight.

The departments of Foreign Affairs and International Trade have been reunited, or in the government's own words, "reintegrated." A statement from Prime Minister Stephen Harpers' office released on Feb. 6, minutes after the new cabinet was sworn in, said the move was made to "ensure a coherent approach to foreign affairs and international commerce" to improve the provision of services to Canadians at home and abroad.

The statement mentions that the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA) will also become part of the new mandate. The decision to add CIDA to the reintegration is being lauded by proponents of reunifying international trade and development under one wing.

"I support the decision to bring CIDA more closely to the overall foreign affairs portfolio," says Gordon Smith, a former deputy foreign affairs minister and currently director of the Centre for Global Studies at the University of Victoria in British Columbia.

The move to unite these departments ends speculation that it wasn't the new government's priority to undo the split. However, the statement fell short of mentioning how the government will go about unifying foreign affairs, international trade and CIDA. The statement also does not mention whether the newly appointed ministers of international trade, international development and foreign affairs will be equal to one another in their roles.

When the Liberals, under Paul Martin, split the departments of international trade and foreign affairs during their term in office last year, there was debate on who would have more authority among the heads of these departments. In Sept. 2004, Embassy published a story, which cited the Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade Act, which states that the Foreign Affairs Minister "has the management and direction of the Department (DFAIT) in Canada and abroad." Quoting the Act, the article also mentions that the two ministers of international trade and international cooperation will "act with concurrence" and "assist" the Foreign Affairs Minister in international relations.

Though this question still haunts Mr. Harper's reunification plan, Mr. Smith says the problem can be solved if the Minister of Foreign Affairs chairs a cabinet committee. "That's a little bit extra clout," says Mr. Smith, adding that the process will have to be a consensual one. In Mr. Harper's new cabinet line-up, Peter MacKay, the Minister of Foreign Affairs, chairs the Foreign Affairs and National Security Committee, of which Josée Verner, the Minister for International Development, is a member. However, International Trade Minister David Emerson is not a member of that committee.

David Mendeloff, Assistant Professor of International Affairs at Carleton University, says the reunification is an internal political issue that will affect foreign policy. "Reunifying foreign policy in foreign affairs is going to be a huge challenge," says Mr. Mendeloff, adding that there will be a lot of resistance from within the bureaucracy in international trade and foreign affairs.

But Tom Axworthy, Chair of the Centre for the Study of Democracy at Queen's University disagrees. He says the reunification should not pose any problems because there is a lot support among bureaucrats for unification. "A great many people think it is a foolish idea and I have never heard a voice of dissent against unifying the departments," says Mr. Axworthy, adding that there are various mechanisms that will facilitate coordination among the three ministers in the new portfolio.

"This should be a relatively smooth process, it should not be difficult." brian@embassymag.ca


CABINET MINISTERS

Rona Ambrose Environment
John Baird Treasury Board
Maxime Bernier Industry
Jean-Pierre Blackburn Labour and Economic Development Agency of Canada for the Regions of Quebec
Lawrence Cannon Transport, Infrastructure and Communities
Michael Chong Queen's Privy Council for Canada, Intergovernmental Affairs and Sport
Tony Clement Health and the Federal Economic Development Initiative for Northern Ontario
Stockwell Day Public Safety
David Emerson International Trade, the Pacific Gateway and the Vancouver-Whistler Olympics
Diane Finley Human Resources and Social Development
Jim Flaherty Finance
Michael Fortier Public Works and Government Services
Loyola Hearn Fisheries and Oceans
Marjory LeBreton Leader of the Government in the Senate
Gary Lunn Natural Resources
Peter MacKay Foreign Affairs and the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency
Robert Nicholson Government House Leader, Democratic Reform
Gordon O'Connor National Defence
Bev Oda Canadian Heritage and Status of Women
Jim Prentice Indian Affairs and Northern Development and Federal Interlocutor for Métis and Non-Status Indians
Carol Skelton National Revenue and Western Economic Diversification
Monte Solberg Citizenship and Immigration
Chuck Strahl Agriculture and Agri-Food, and the Canadian Wheat Board
Gregory Thompson Veterans Affairs
Vic Toews Justice and Attorney General of Canada
Josée Verner International Cooperation, La Francophonie and Official Languages

PARLIAMENTARY SECRETARIES

James Abbott Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Canadian Heritage and Status of Women
Diane Ablonczy Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Finance
David Anderson Parliamentary Secretary (for the Canadian Wheat Board) to the Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food and Minister for the Canadian Wheat Board
Sylvie Boucher Parliamentary Secretary to the Prime Minister
Rod Bruinooge Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Indian Affairs and Northern Development and Federal Interlocutor for Métis and Non-Status Indians
Colin Carrie Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Industry
Steven Fletcher Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Health and Minister for the Federal Economic Development Initiative for Northern Ontario
Jacques Gourde Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food and Minister for the Canadian Wheat Board
Helena Guergis Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of International Trade and Minister for the Pacific Gateway and the Vancouver -Whistler Olympics
Russ Hiebert Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of National Defence
Betty Hinton Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Veterans Affairs
Brian Jean Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Transport, Infrastructure and Communities
Randy Kamp Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Fisheries and Oceans
Jason Kenney Parliamentary Secretary to the Prime Minister for Multiculturalism
Ed Komarnicki Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Citizenship and Immigration
Tom Lukiwski Parliamentary Secretary to the Leader of the Government in the House of Commons and Minister for Democratic Reform
Dave MacKenzie Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Public Safety
Ted Menzies Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of International Cooperation and Minister for La Francophonie and Official Languages
James Moore Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Public Works and Government Services
Rob Moore Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada
Deepak Obhrai Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Foreign Affairs and Minister of the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency
Christian Paradis Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Natural Resources
Pierre Poilievre Parliamentary Secretary to the President of the Treasury Board
Peter Van Loan Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Foreign Affairs and Minister for the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency
Mark Warawa Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of the Environment
Lynne Yelich Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Human Resources and Social Development

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