Canada,  Politics

Canada Watch: Stephen Harper Sworn in As Canada’s 22nd PM

Stephen Harper takes the oath of office as his family, daughter Rachel, son Ben and wife Laureen look on as he is sworn in as Canada’s 22nd prime minister at Government House in Ottawa, Monday Feb. 6, 2006.

ASSociated Press: Harper Sworn in As Canada’s 22nd PM

Stephen Harper was sworn in as Canada’s 22nd prime minister Monday, marking the first time in more than 12 years that the Conservative Party will rule this traditionally liberal nation.

The 46-year-old economist has pledged to cut taxes, clean up government corruption and reconsider such hot-button issues as gay marriage. He takes over for outgoing Liberal Party leader Paul Martin, whose 18-month government was marred by indecision and the inability to rise above an ethics scandal that outraged many Canadians.

And Harper’s new government ministers:

Prime Minister Stephen Harper (bottom row, second from right) gives the thumbs as he and members of his new cabinet pose for a photograph with Governor General Michaelle Jean (bottom row, far right) after a swearing-in ceremony in Ottawa, Monday, Febuary 6, 2006. Front row (left to right) David Emerson, Minister of International Trade and Pacific Gateway and the Vancouver-Whistler Olympics, Jean-Pierre Blackburn, Minister of Labour and Minister of the Economic Development Agency of Canada for the Regions of Quebec, Prime Minister Harper, Governor General Michaelle Jean. Back row (left to right) Gary Lunn, Minister of Natural Resources, Peter MacKay, Foreign Affairs Minister and Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency, Loyola Hearn Minister of Fisheries and Stockwall Day, Minister of Public Safety.

Harper’s Cabinet ministers also were sworn in by Governor-General Michaelle Jean in a ceremony at her residence, Rideau Hall, in the federal capital of Ottawa. The new team had been kept under wraps and was made public only minutes before the ceremony.

Peter MacKay, deputy leader of the Conservative Party, was sworn in as minister of foreign affairs and Stockwell Day became minister of public safety, an important post that works closely with Washington on matters of national and continental security.

Gordon O’Connor was sworn in as minister of defense. Harper declined to name a deputy prime minister, doing away with the post under him.

The 27-member cabinet, which includes six women, is much leaner than the 39 positions the Liberals had. They arrived at Rideau Hall in cars and taxis — an apparent effort to show they are closer to the people than the Liberals, who used limousines.

Best of luck to the NEW Canadian government. And here is to better American-Canadian relations.

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