OTTAWA - The expanded federal cabinet presented by Prime Minister Stephen Harper could cost taxpayers an additional $3.9 million in salaries alone for the extra ministers and their staff.
The total cost of staffing ministerial offices - roughly $24.2 million in salaries - has increased 19 per cent with last week's shuffle, and has jumped 42 per cent since the Tories presented their first cabinet in 2006.
The Conservatives had 26 ministers in their initial 2006 cabinet, expanded that to 31 ministers over their first term in office, and now have 37 ministers following the latest shuffle.
Oh the times they are a changing.
Conservatives were singing a different tune when they took office. When Harper swore in his first ministry on Feb. 6, 2006, he spoke with pride of its limited size compared to the previous Liberal cabinets.
"My smaller cabinet and more streamlined cabinet structure are designed for work - not for show," the prime minister said that day.