Trudeau expected to create larger cabinet with new environmental roles
TORONTO – Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is expected to announce a larger cabinet on Wednesday with a greater focus on regional representation and the creation of new environmental roles.
After the Tories’ sweep of Western Canada in last month’s election, some senior officials have hinted at the idea of having regional ministers who could represent concerns of communities across Canada.
To also help with a growing sense of western alienation, many analysts believe the Trudeau government will put heightened emphasis on the role of minister of intergovernmental affairs.
Some sources suggested that Trudeau’s cabinet will be bigger than before, with Ministry of Environment and Climate Change likely split into two portfolios. The Liberal cabinet is also expected to be gender balanced once again.
Senior government officials are finalizing choices for the new cabinet over the next few days, but changes to portfolios are known to have occurred just hours before the official swearing in. Trudeau announced last month that he’d be unveiling his new cabinet on Wednesday, Nov. 20.
Who gets chosen to sit in the Liberal cabinet – and how the group will be constructed – will be the first hint at how Trudeau plans to lead under a minority government.
Liberal strategist Shane Mackenzie said he expects some big names will remain in Trudeau’s inner circle.
“I think you will see a lot of familiar faces, (Bill) Morneau staying in finance (and) Chrystia Freeland still (be) in a strong portfolio,” Mackenzie told CTV News. “(Trudeau) will have people come in where they are most needed at this time.”
When Trudeau first visited Rideau Hall in 2015, his cabinet was full of fresh faces who were hot off a surprise victory. But after this most recent election, the selection of who’s sworn in is now more complicated -- with a lot more at stake. Analysts and insiders suggest many of Trudeau’s highest profile ministers will remain in cabinet, though some will likely have new portfolios.
The Liberals were completely shut out of Alberta and Saskatchewan during last month’s election. To combat this, one of the ideas being floated is appointing regional ministers and creating a stronger role for the minister of intergovernmental affairs.
“Among the things he will have to consider, there is how do you balance the interest of (Green party Leader Elizabeth) May's environment policy -- and others -- with western concerns of economic development?” MacEwan University political science professor John Soroski said.
Political analyst Stephanie Plante said she’ll be keeping an eye on one cabinet role in particular.
“What I'm really interested to see is who he will put in as foreign affairs minister because I think that will signal Canada's commitment to the seat at the UN (United Nations),” she said.
“People want to be able to pick up the phone for someone they trust.”
Even so, the Liberals are staying tight lipped, offering no public comments on the cabinet picks. Last-minute changes to cabinet choices are not uncommon up until Wednesday.