Normally, wearing a baseball cap that mocks your employer anywhere near the office would be considered a dumb career move. And being widely quoted in the media as critical of your employer’s policy would be considered suicide – especially when your boss is Stephen Harper.
But maybe Peter MacKay,
In the past week, it has been MacKay’s turn to dole out the humiliation after being very publicly cut out of the loop over the extended mission in
First MacKay sported a red baseball cap that said ``Fly Emirates’’ during a fire drill on Parliament Hill. Then he told a couple of fellow Tories in the presence of a radio reporter that continued refusal to allow flights to and from the
Subsequently, MacKay told the media at large that diplomatic relations with the Emirates have been set back 10 years by
To finish off the week. MacKay joined the Prime Minister on a flight to
So what was MacKay up to?
Most ministers publicly breaking ranks like that would be on the back benches by now. But MacKay is in a unique position as the last leader of the Progressive Conservatives before the merger with the
Aside from the fact that Harper owes MacKay for going along with the merger, the Prime Minister knows that bouncing his defence minister from cabinet will set off speculation about a rift in the party.
It is pretty obvious the Conservatives would like to have a spring election after the 2011 budget even though the most rabid Harperites don’t expect to win a majority. An election before economic growth can slow down any more simply makes strategic sense.
Plans for a spring election would have to be shelved if speculation about an internal rift gets out of hand. So MacKay likely is the minister with the most job security at least until the next cabinet shuffle.
MacKay likely will make a career change in the New Year. Perhaps he will join Jim Prentice in self-imposed exile
The Conservatives likely will win the next election. But a victory with fewer seats would almost certainly bring out the knives for their leader.
In the meantime, Prentice and MacKay and who knows who else may be watching and waiting.