5 things you might have missed in Trudeau's cabinet shakeup
OTTAWA -- There were some obvious storylines out of Tuesday’s cabinet shakeup, including new faces in the health, foreign affairs, and national defence portfolios, but some other interesting takeaways may have flown under the radar.
Here are five key points you might have missed:
THE MINISTER FOR SENIORS IS THE YOUNGEST MEMBER OF CABINET
At just 32, the Brampton West MP Kamal Khera will head the seniors file. Khera is also a registered nurse, which makes her an appropriate fit for the role. Among other roles, she has served as the parliamentary secretary to the minister of health.
Khera replaces Deb Schulte, who was defeated in the 2021 election.
Exiting her first cabinet meeting on Wednesday, Khera said “As a young woman of colour, I look forward to bringing that perspective. Seniors built this country for us and it’s time for us to make sure that they have the resources and the services they need.”
FIRST-EVER MINISTER FOR MENTAL HEALTH AND ADDICTION
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced that the former Crown-Indigenous relations minister Carolyn Bennett would become the first-ever minister of mental health and addiction.
Bennett was a family physician prior to becoming an MP in 1997. She will also serve as associate minister of health in the 44th Parliament.
The Liberals made specific mental health-focused election promises, including pledging nearly $5 billion to the provinces and territories to enhance services through a new permanent transfer.
TRUDEAU CONFIRMS INTENTION TO KEEP LEADING PARTY
Asked on Tuesday whether the he would lead the party into the next election, whenever that may be, Trudeau responded, simply, “yes.”
Some political pundits have speculated this past election could have been Trudeau’s last, having led the party through three campaigns.
Minority governments typically last around 18 months in Canada.
PRAIRIES HAVE SAME RATE OF REPRESENTATION AS N.L.
In a move that’s drawing criticism from some political leaders in the West, Trudeau wiped out the role of special representative for the Prairies from cabinet. It had been held previously by Winnipeg-based MP Jim Carr.
Now, the Prairies and Newfoundland and Labrador have equal representation on the front bench.
Dan Vandal, another Winnipeg-based MP, will remain as minster of northern affairs and minister responsible for the Canadian Northern Economic Development Agency, and Edmonton-based MP Randy Boissonnault becomes minister of tourism and associate minister of finance.
Meanwhile, St. John's MP Seamus O’Regan, formerly the natural resources minister, goes to labour and Long Range Mountains MP Gudie Hutchings becomes the minister of rural economic development.
NO MORE MIDDLE-CLASS PROSPERITY OR DIGITAL GOVERNMENT MINISTRIES
The shakeup also sunsetted two ministerial positions: minister of middle-class prosperity and minister of digital government.
The former was held by now President of the Treasury Board Mona Fortier and the latter was held by now Minister of Fisheries, Oceans and the Canadian Coast Guard Joyce Murray.
Shortly after being appointed to her previous role, Fortier struggled to properly communicate what the government defined as middle class and then stated in the House of Commons that "Canada has no official statistical measure of what constitutes the middle class."