OTTAWA — Political watchers are expecting a major shuffling of the federal cabinet to unfold as early as this week.
All eyes will be on two key posts, Defence where Peter MacKay is minister, and Finance, which has been held by Jim Flaherty since the Conservatives were elected to power in 2006.
Shuffling either of those portfolios would dramatically change the face of the Harper government.
The moves the prime minister makes now will shape the second half of his majority mandate leading up to a general election scheduled for 2015.
In the past Harper has tended to make small moves within his inner circle, but this time analysts say he needs to change a perception his government is tired and out of ideas — and women from the back benches could figure prominently in that change.
Being talked about for possible posts are Alberta MP Michelle Rempel, Ontario Tory Kellie Leitch and Manitoba MP Candice Bergen.