Given the wealth of attention paid to the fact female representation at the senior cabinet level dropped in Harper’s cabinet shuffle this week, some may look at Harper’s decision to demote a female senior staffer, Michele Austin, described by colleagues as “a strong woman” as part of a pattern of behaviour, and given that recent history it wouldn’t be hard to see why:
A number of Tory aides and insiders spoke of Ms. Austin's abilities and credited her with a large role in Mr. Bernier's successes, and said they felt it was unfair that she would be told to trade jobs with Mr. O'Connor's former chief of staff, Aaron Gairdner, who will now run Mr. Bernier's office.
They said she was well respected, but known as willing to challenge the will of the PMO. "She wasn't a wallflower type of girl. She was a strong woman," one said. "They [the PMO] believe that if you are minister's staff, you work for the Prime Minister, as opposed to the minister."
But I don’t think the pattern has anything to do with her being a woman though. Rather, I think Harper hates all people equally that show any signs of independent thought. He’s equal opportunity in that sense, Stephen is, and never let it be said otherwise...
P.S. Conservative six (or less) degrees of separation:
…Aaron Gairdner…happens to be married to Stacey Gairdner, executive assistant to Stephen Harper's wife, Laureen.Recommend this Post on Progressive Bloggers