Wed, Feb 08, 2006 - Page 6 News List

Harper sworn in as Canadian prime minister

NEW MAN The Conservative leader of Canada had his first meeting with his newly unveiled Cabinet after his swearing-in ceremony in the federal capital of Ottawa


Stockwell Day became minister of public safety, an important post that works closely with Washington on matters of anti-terrorism efforts and continental security.

Harper declined to name a deputy prime minister, doing away with the post.

He also surprised Ottawa by appointing Michael Fortier, a key Conservative Party organizer in Quebec, as public works minister even though he is not a member of Parliament.

The 26-member Cabinet, which includes six women, is much leaner than the 39 positions the Liberals had.

"My smaller Cabinet and more streamlined Cabinet structure are designed for work not for show," Harper said.

Harper reiterated his campaign pledges to cut the national sales tax to 6 percent, crack down on crime, establish wait-time guarantees for the country's beleaguered health-care system and give families C$1,200 (US$1,049) for each child in day care.

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