Trudeau shaking up his cabinet, several ministers getting new portfolios
OTTAWA -- In what is shaping up to be a considerable shakeup of Prime Minster Justin Trudeau’s cabinet, several key ministers are on the move, including Catherine McKenna, Chrystia Freeland, Jonathan Wilkinson and Francois-Philippe Champagne.
McKenna is being shuffled out of her environment and climate change portfolio and will be replaced by Wilkinson, sources tell CTV News.
McKenna will take on the role of infrastructure and communities, which is expected to have some overlap in terms of the work she has been doing when it comes to flood mitigation and green infrastructure.
During her four-year tenure in the environmental portfolio, McKenna, the Ottawa Centre MP, faced considerable backlash online and real security threats, and recently Alberta Premier Jason Kenney called for her to be shuffled into a new portfolio in this coming cabinet readjustment.
North Vancouver, B.C. MP Wilkinson will be moving into this new environmental role from fisheries and oceans. While he represents a riding on the West Coast, where opposition is strong against the Liberals’ support of Trans Mountain, he has roots in Saskatchewan and will likely be called on to help bridge the gap in representation that his party has in that province and Alberta.
Freeland is expected to be shuffled out of her foreign affairs portfolio into a sizeable domestic role and current Infrastructure and Communities Minister and Saint-Maurice-Champlain, Que. MP Francois-Philippe Champagne is in line to replace her in the high-profile international portfolio.
Freeland, the MP for University-Rosedale, Ont. has roots in Alberta and it’s been speculated that she’d take on the intergovernmental affairs portfolio and perhaps be named deputy prime minister. She is credited for leading the negotiations of the new NAFTA deal, but has also been stickhandling several hot diplomatic files, including with China.
Finance Minister Bill Morneau, who represents Toronto Centre, Justice Minister and LaSalle-Émard-Verdun, Que. MP David Lametti and Transport Minister Marc Garneau, who represents the Notre-Dame-de-Grace -- Westmount, Que., will keep their files in Wednesday’s ministerial musical chairs, sources have told CTV News.
While the new cabinet may not include many new faces, the portfolios left by defeated ministers Ralph Goodale and Amarjeet Sohi will have to be filled, and with both Jim Carr and Dominic LeBlanc dealing with their respective cancer diagnosis, it’s yet to be seen what roles they will play going forward.
Sources have told CTV News that Jean-Yves Duclos, an economist and MP from Quebec City, will take over as president of the Treasury Board after serving as vice-chair during Trudeau’s previous government. He will be leaving his role as minister of Families, Children and Social Development.
Other changes to Trudeau’s cabinet include Delta, B.C. MP Carla Qualtrough moving out of Public Services and Procurement and Accessibility to an unspecified cabinet role.
Sources have also said that Pablo Rodriguez, MP for Honore-Mercier, Que., and the former Minister of Canadian Heritage, will become the newest House leader, while Steven Guilbeault, MP for Laurier–Sainte-Marie, Que. will take over the Canadian Heritage portfolio.
A source with direct knowledge also told CTV News that in addition to the government House leader, which is a cabinet post, the other names that will make up the House leadership team will also be unveiled tomorrow. This is likely to include who the deputy House leader, chief government whip and deputy whip will be. In a minority parliament these roles will have an increased importance.
Trudeau is unveiling the members who will make up the 29th federal ministry tomorrow at Rideau Hall at 1:30 p.m. EDT. The prime minister is scheduled to hold a media availability following the ceremony.
Speculation has swirled in Ottawa since the election resulted in the Liberals being knocked down to minority government status. With the 43rd Parliament kicking off on Dec. 5 the new ministers have two weeks to get briefed up on their files and departmental responsibilities.
It’s expected that the cabinet will expand, but by how much remains to be seen. One reason to expand the 35-person roster would be focus more on regional representation and economic development.
Ministers who are staying in their portfolios will not need to be re-sworn-in tomorrow, but first-time appointees and those changing portfolios will have oaths to read during the ceremony.
A few current ministers arrived at the Ottawa airport on Tuesday, to get sworn-in as MPs they said, demurring on their whereabouts tomorrow. Each of the 338 MPs are in the process of being sworn-in as members of Parliament in the House of Commons. It’s a different ceremony and oath than those who enter cabinet.
“I’m hoping to be sworn-in tomorrow as a member of Parliament,” said Minister of Border Security and Organized Crime Reduction Bill Blair, adding that his ceremony is at 9 a.m. Then what? “Well, I’ve got lots of work to do and I’ll get to it,” he said.
“I would be honoured to have any position… We’ll see tomorrow,” said Rural Economic Development Minister and Nova Scotia MP Bernadette Jordan. She spoke generally about the importance of gender balance and regional representation on the government’s front benches but said ultimately it’s the decision for Trudeau to make.
The Canadian Press is reporting that Jordan will be taking over the fisheries portfolio from Wilkinson.
Unlike in 2015 when the first slate of gender-balanced Liberal cabinet ministers strode up the walkway at Rideau Hall, the public has not been invited to attend tomorrow’s swearing-in.
With files from CTV News’ Senior Political Correspondent Glen McGregor, Ottawa Bureau Chief Joyce Napier, host of CTV’s Power Play Don Martin and CTVNews.ca Writer Ben Cousins