Stephen Harper wasted no time replacing his finance minister after Jim Flaherty’s surprise resignation Tuesday. Joe Oliver was sworn in early Wednesday morning during a small cabinet shuffle.
This morning, Harper’s team released a photo of Oliver being sworn in as just the second finance minister since Harper became PM.
Junior Minister Greg Rickford will replace him at natural resources, and backbencher Ed Holder will succeed Rickford as Minister of Science and Technology.
73-year-old Oliver is well known on Bay Street, where he spent decades working as an investment banker. He’s also well-respected within the Harper cabinet. He was first elected to Parliament in 2011, representing the Toronto riding of Eglinton-Lawrence.
The issue of income splitting had recently caused a rift in the Conservative caucus when Flaherty questioned whether it was a good idea. Last month, Harper had reaffirmed his support for income splitting. And today, Oliver was asked about where he stands on the issue: “We’re going to be honouring our platform. But this is very early in my mandate so I’m going to be looking at the details.”
NDP Leader Tom Mulcair didn’t hold back today when asked about Oliver’s appointment — calling it a mistake: “His statements on First Nations — as one of the Chief’s says — goes beyond paternalism; they were tinted with racism. His statements on global warming are an embarrassment to Canada.”
Oliver says his first priority as finance minister is to work on improving economic conditions for job growth.
Henry Jacek, a political scientist from McMaster University, offered insight into the new finance minister while speaking in studio with Nick Dixon.