Prime Minister Stephen Harper called it “fine-tuning the ministry,” perhaps because “recalibrate” was already taken.

Three weeks after he shut down Parliament to give his minority government an extended winter break to “recalibrate” its agenda, Harper performed a minor makeover on his cabinet yesterday that left most major portfolios untouched.

“This is the cabinet that will lead us through the second and final phase of our economic action plan,” Harper declared.

The cabinet changes, which touch on 13 portfolios, were headlined by a Conservative government pitch to wrestle down the staggering deficits that sprang seemingly from nowhere after the October 2008 election and threaten to march indefinitely into the future.

But government economic retooling was hardly the theme of yesterday’s shuffle.

Senior economic portfolios, including Finance Minister Jim Flaherty, Industry Minister Tony Clement, Infrastructure and Transport Minister John Baird and Human Resources Minister Diane Finley were unchanged.

It is in essence the same crew that drove program spending up by 17.6 per cent over its first three years in power, slashed revenues by cutting two points off the GST, and is now projecting a $56-billion deficit for 2009-10.

“They were in deficit before the recession began,” Liberal Leader Michael Ignatieff said yesterday. “I don’t know where Stephen Harper got his reputation for good financial management. This has been a disaster.”