With Bob Dechert becoming the first elected federal Conservative in Mississauga in 20 years, his insider status, (a party insider, former National Director of the Canadian Alliance, representing the Alliance during merger talks, and given the green-light for a third run, unlike Phil Green) and his economics background, more then a couple sources have suggested his name in a re-vamped Tory cabinet, potentially as high as International Trade. So lets get some speculation done, and the plus-minus on Dechert getting into cabinet, and his possible role:
-First elected Conservative in Mississauga in 2 decades, if the Tories want to get a majority, they will need to hold on Mississauga Erindale, and pick up other seats in the Peel Region they consider marginal, like Mississauga South and Brampton West. A Peel cabinet Minister would help in this regard.
-Dechert won by the narrowest of margins, a cabinet spot would help bulk up his chances at re-election.
-Dechert is a party loyalist, given that some have speculated Harper might pull a Bill Davis, Dechert would be supportive of the leader, be it Harper or another.
-His economic background and international experience would be a good fit for International Trade or Industry or at the very least, Parl. Sec. or Sec. State to them. (although it seems Jim Prentice is probably going to stay on in that role)
-The biggest minus against Dechert being given a full portfolio is Lisa Raitt, newly elected MP for Halton. Raitt is a relatively high profile woman with urban experience representing a GTA riding; exactly what the Conservatives needed, and a good potential regional minister for the GTA West. Raitt should be a given for any new cabinet, and given that Halton and Mississauga-Erindale border each other, having both in cabinet might throw off regional balance somewhere else.
-Another gender based minus is that the open portfolio Dechert might be best suited for, International Trade, has had lots of rumours flying around lately that Harper wants to place a woman in it, with the most suggested names being Raitt and Alice Wong (who has the added bonus of being from urban BC and ethnic)
-Ontario balance. Of the current Ontario ministers, Tony Clement and John Baird are very likely to stay on in cabinet, although perhaps in different roles. Jim Flaherty in Finance is a bet to stay in his powerful position, Peter van Loan might get shuffled out of House Leader, but will probably stay in Cabinet, while Diane Finley will probably stay (albeit in perhaps a reduced role) thanks to her husband. The only Ontario cabinet ministers who might get moved around are Rob Nicholson in Justice, after the poor reaction to the Tory crime plan in Quebec, and Bev Oda, likely to be replaced by Alice Wong as Harper attempt at tokenism. Add Lisa Raitt to the mix, and you dont have a whole lot of wiggle room for Dechert.
My prediction: Dechert gets either Parliamentary Secretary to whoever the Minister of International Trade ends up being, or a Sec. of State appointment for an economic related portfolio.
Now of course, with an election possibly only another 2 years away, the question has to be asked, who will run for the Liberals against Dechert? Some possibilities:
I think Omar making another run for it might be the most likely, assuming he wants it again. Omar was criticized by some however for spending not enough time in the riding, which might make it difficult to knock off an incumbent, particularly one which might get a cabinet post that will have him...out of the riding a lot. He already has the infrastructure in place, however, he might face a wild card or too.
Takhar, however, I dont see as being one of those. I cant see him giving up a cabinet post to fight for what would probably be a tough nomination (if history is any guide) and a tough fight to even get elected. If he is maybe shuffled out of cabinet in the future he might think about it, but I cant see Takhar jumping from provincial to federal, although some jumping from one level to another is definitely possible for some others.
Steve Mahoney/Katie Mahoney
This is where things start to get interesting. Steve is the former MP for the area, and has remained in the public eye as Chair of the Workplace Safety and Insurance Board, while his wife Katie is a city councillor for a Ward which is part of the riding. Either one would be very credible candidates. The interesting part is that both have had speculation about runs for mayor of Mississauga at some point, and both would be credible candidates in that as well. The question is, if they did want to run for mayor, when? Hazel will be mayor for exactly as long as she wants, and more then a few people have suggested it is unlikely she would ever resign voluntarily, and her dying in office is a very real possibility. If a special election happens before the next federal election, be sure to see one of these two running municipally, if not, having one of them seek the federal nod would not be surprising at all. However, the the Mahoneys could be further motivated to seek whatever course of action by the ultimate wildcard:
She beat Dechert once, in 2004, remains fairly popular locally (as given her election to City Council) and has a good network within the City. Parrish wants to be mayor, and would run in a second if given the option, so even if no one else volunteers for Mississauga Erindale, I can see her staying out and focusing on municipal politics. The Mahoney-Parrish dynamics come into play here, as while a Mahoney is almost certain to run for mayor, they might not run for the federal nomination. Parrish could probably get the nomination if she wanted, the question is, what does she want?