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BC minister Gary Lunn demoted in new Harper cabinet

Prime Minister Stephen Harper announced his new cabinet this morning, demoting veteran B.C. MP Gary Lunn to a minister of state position.

Lunn, who was Natural Resources minister before the election, is now the minister of state for sport.

In the election Lunn won a hard fought campaign against Liberal challenger Briony Penn in Saanich-Gulf Islands. Questions remain about a last minute call that went to residents encouraging votes for a withdrawn NDP candidate, and about third-party advertising during the campaign.

Could Harper and the Conservative party be distancing themselves from Lunn?

While there's a need to get to the bottom of what happened in the riding, said Dennis Pilon, a political science professor at the University of Victoria, “We might be reading too much into this.”

Harper had to free up some room for new faces around the table, he said, and likely wanted to increase representation from Quebec and Ontario without expanding the cabinet. His support in B.C. is more secure, Pilon added, and that was likely a factor in his picks. “Guess what B.C., you gave too much support to the Conservatives.”

B.C. will be represented in cabinet by Chuck Strahl (Indian Affairs and Northern Development), Stockwell Day (International Trade and Asia-Pacific Gateway), Jay Hill (Government House Leader) and James Moore (Canadian Heritage and Official Languages).

Andrew MacLeod is The Tyee’s Legislative Bureau Chief in Victoria. Reach him here.

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