Cabinet with long to-do list expected to include many rookies
Josh Dehaas, CTVNews.ca
Published Tuesday, November 3, 2015 10:03PM EST
Last Updated Wednesday, November 4, 2015 6:59AM EST
Prime Minister-designate Justin Trudeau only gave a “thumbs up” Tuesday when asked about the make-up of his cabinet, but sources tell CTV’s Ottawa Bureau Chief Robert Fife that many fresh faces will be among the 28 ministers.
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The high-profile finance portfolio is expected to go to Toronto Centre’s Bill Morneau, who has a Bay Street background but has never sat in Parliament.
Morneau could be backed up by Jean-Yves Duclos, a Université Laval economist who recently won his first federal election in Quebec City.
Montreal’s Melanie Joly, another rookie, is expected to be heritage minister, as Canada prepares to mark 150 years.
Half of Trudeau’s cabinet will be women, which means MP-elects like MaryAnn Mihychuk (Kildonan—St. Paul), a former Manitoba minister, and homeless shelter executive Patty Hajdu (Thunder Bay—Superior North) will likely have portfolios.
Asked Tuesday at Ottawa’s airport to confirm she will be in cabinet, Mihychuk only laughed and said Trudeau is a “very bright man and he’ll see my attributes.”
Aboriginal MPs Hunter Tootoo (Nunavut) and Vancouver-Granville’s Jody Wilson-Raybould have secured spots, although it’s not clear which portfolios they’ll have.
Both have political experience -- Tootoo is a former speaker of the Nunuvut legislature and Wilson-Raybould comes from the B.C. Assembly of First Nations -- but neither has been an MP.
That doesn’t mean the new cabinet won’t have some former ministers too, however. Ralph Goodale (Regina-Wascana), Scott Brison (Kings-Hants) and Stephane Dion (Saint-Laurent) are expected to be in cabinet.
So are long-time MPs Dominic LeBlanc (Beauséjour), Marc Garneau (Westmount—Ville-Marie) and Kirsty Duncan (Etobicoke North).
Whatever their positions, the new ministers will need to get working quickly.
The new immigration minister will be tasked with meeting Trudeau’s commitment to bring 25,000 Syrian refuges to Canada in just eight weeks.
Even human rights advocates have said that meeting Trudeau’s Jan. 1 deadline will be difficult, if not impossible.
Amnesty International’s Alex Neve downplayed expectations Tuesday, saying only he will be, “looking for progress -- for evidence that this commitment is real and generous and that we’re going to build on it.”
The new Minister of Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development will need to get a promised inquiry into missing and murdered indigenous women launched quickly. Neve said he expects an announcement “within weeks.”
The defence minister, meanwhile, will be need to get a plan in place for Canada to withdraw from the bombing mission against ISIS in Iraq and Syria. The military has said it is waiting for direction.
The finance minister will need to grapple with demands from the Quebec government that Ottawa help bail out Bombardier after it posted a $4.9-billion third-quarter loss.
The company employs more than 18,000 employees in Quebec and the province recently committed $1 billion to try and save jobs.
“I’m expecting that the federal government will support Quebec in its aerospace as the Government of Canada has supported Ontario and the automobile industry,” Quebec Economy Minister Jacques Daoust said Wednesday.
That might not go over well in western Canada. Saskatchewan Premier Brad Wall tweeted in response to Quebec’s demands that western Canada's troubled energy sector hasn't asked for a bailout despite the low oil prices leading to job losses there.
The new cabinet will also need to get to work on implementing the Liberal’s planned middle class tax cut, which Trudeau said during the campaign would be first on his legislative agenda.
And they will face pressure to amend the Anti-terrorism Act and restore the long-form census as soon as possible too.
University of Toronto political scientist Christopher Cochrane called it “a very ambitious agenda.”
“Whether or not they can get this done, and get this done without making too many enemies, is obviously the big challenge of the next four years.”
With reports from CTV’s Robert Fife and Laurie Graham in Ottawa