Trudeau taps ambassador to France, Anne McLellan to aid in transition
Published Tuesday, October 29, 2019 4:25AM EDT
Last Updated Tuesday, October 29, 2019 10:02PM EDT
OTTAWA -- Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has tapped Albertan and former Liberal deputy prime minister Anne McLellan and Canada's Ambassador to France, Quebecer Isabelle Hudon to assist his top team in the transition into a second term with a minority mandate, sources tell CTV News.
While the transition won’t be as intense as it would have been if a new party was forming government, Trudeau will still have to weigh decisions like cabinet appointments and titles, and how to navigate the new minority dynamics that have seen the Liberals shut out of Alberta and Saskatchewan, whilehaving to contend with a reinvigorated Bloc Quebecois.
Seeking advice from these two women, who respectively have ties to Alberta and Quebec, is likely one way to address the regional divides that the Liberal government will have to contend with as it looksto govern “for all Canadians,” as Trudeau has said. The transition team is being anchored by Trudeau’s chief of staff Katie Telford, and includes David Morrison, an adviser on foreign affairs.
McLellan, who has experience in minority parliaments, has been called on by the Liberals a few times in the last four years, first as chair of the federal marijuana legalization task force, and then was named as a special adviser to examine some of the machinery of government issues that factored into SNC-Lavalin controversy, including the possibility of splitting up the justice minister and attorney general roles.
Hudon was appointed to the top diplomatic posting in France in 2017, and prior to that was the executive chair of Sun Life Financial Quebec and has also been president and chief executive officer of the Board of Trade of Metropolitan Montreal.
“A transition now though is important, because the circumstances of the two governments have changed so tremendously,” said Peter Donolo, former communications director to Liberal prime minister Jean Chretien.
“Plus, the climate of the country has changedsince Justin Trudeau first took office in 2015.”
Trudeau met GG Tuesday
This morning Trudeau visited Gov.Gen.Julie Payette to confirm that he intends to form government after winning the most seats on election night. While the Liberals are 13 seats shy of a majority they elected more than any other party.
The first test of the Liberals’ ability to maintain the confidence of the House of Commons will be the vote on the Throne Speech, which will spell out the government’s priorities to accomplish while in power. In order to pass that vote the Liberals will need to secure support from the opposition benches. The Conservatives hold 121 seats, the Bloc Quebecois hold 32 seats, the NDP have 24 elected members, the Green party holds three seats, and Independent Jody Wilson-Raybould was re-elected.
A date has not yet been set for the Speech from the Throne, which would mark the beginning of the 43rd Parliament. It is expected that Trudeau would have spoken about this timing with Payette this morning.
Trudeau will swear-in his new cabinet ministers on Nov. 20.
Already speculation is swirling in Ottawa about what changes may be afoot to the Liberal front bench, though guessing aside, oneof the most crucial appointments given the minority makeup of the House of Commons, will be Government House Leader.
“Someone who can count the noses, who can work with caucus to make sure that MPs are there for the votes when you need them, and who has a broad strategic mind,” said Donolo. Bardish Chagger held this role for the better part of the last Parliament.
As well, he suggested that “part of the renewal of a government is making room for backbench MPs in the cabinet, signaling that there’s going to be change.”
With files from CTV News Ottawa Bureau Chief Joyce Napier and Glen McGregor