Terry Glavin: Beijing is probably delighted with Canadas cabinet shuffle – National Post

Terry Glavin: Beijing is probably delighted with Canada\s cabinet shuffle - National Post
Trudeau expands cabinet, promotes seven rookies and shakes up existing ministers
The full list of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau's new cabinet sworn today at Rideau Hall in Ottawa:

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OTTAWA – Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has unveiled a reconfigured cabinet that has been expanded with the intent of addressing pressing issues raised during last months federal election. With additional emphasis on middle class and regional prosperity and a new approach to representation, a dozen current ministers are taking on new portfolios and seven rookies are now in cabinet, two of whom were elected for the first time in 2019.

ORegan has been criticized for his communication skills on contentious portfolios in the past: veterans advocates slammed him in 2018 for remarks he made comparing his experience leaving journalism to the mental health struggles faced by veterans adjusting to life after the military.

Im very excited today to be able to get down to work the way Canadians asked us to in this last election. To pull together the country, focus on issues of economic growth for the middle class, to fight climate change, and to keep Canadians and their communities safe. That is our focus, and this is the team to do that, Trudeau said during a post-ceremony media availability.

Jordan will have some familiarity with the portfolio, having served as the chair of the House of Commons’ standing committee on fisheries and oceans before being named minister of rural economic development in 2019.

Trudeau has reshaped the lineup of ministries, with several new titles, and consolidations of some cabinet responsibilities. The majority of the 37-member cabinet are MPs from Ontario and Quebec, four from British Columbia, one from Manitoba, and one from each of the Atlantic provinces.

New Brunswick MP Dominic LeBlanc has been appointed as the president of the Queens Privy Council for Canada, giving him a less demanding but important role in cabinet as he continues to recover from cancer treatment.

Gender balance has been maintained, a standard Trudeau set when his first cabinet was sworn-in in 2015. On their way inside, several ministers expressed their optimism about the next chapter for the Liberal government and the new challenges their roles will bring.

The full lineup of the 29th federal ministry was announced at a Rideau Hall swearing-in ceremony overseen by Gov. Gen. Julie Payette.

He won the riding of Beausejour during the federal election in October, despite not being able to campaign during the lead-up to voting day a result of his medical condition.

Notably, Trudeau has named Chrystia Freeland to be his deputy prime minister, the first time someone has held that role in cabinet since 2006.

Born in Alberta, Freeland is also taking on the intergovernmental affairs role, putting her at the helm of tackling the regional divide that the fall federal election exposed, with the Liberals being shut out of Saskatchewan and Alberta, where alienation sentiment is on the rise. Shes now the point person on addressing the tensions between the provinces and the federal government, that some say were aggravated during the election campaign when Trudeau framed his party as the antidote to leaders like Alberta Premier Jason Kenney and Ontario Premier Doug Ford.

But its not yet clear how the appointment of ORegan, a close friend of Trudeau, will go over in the Prairies where there is strong opposition to the Trudeau brand.

Freeland is also holding onto the Canada-U.S. file to see through the ratification of the new NAFTA deal.

She became the minister of rural economic development during a cabinet shuffle in January 2019 but will not be returning to the post as a result of her new role.

While most of the faces around the cabinet table stay the same as they were before the fall federal election, the majority are taking on new portfolios.

Francois-Philippe Champagne is taking over for Freeland as minister of foreign affairs, he was all smiles as he approached Rideau Hall on Wednesday, though hell quickly be put to the test navigating some hot diplomatic files, including Canadas strained relationship with China.

One of the biggest shakeups comes with the appointment of Nova Scotia MP Bernadette Jordan as the minister of fisheries, oceans and the Canadian Coast Guard.

Despite some early speculation, there remains just one ministry focused on the environment and climate change, and thats being headed up by Jonathan Wilkinson. While he represents a British Columbia riding, where opposition is strong against the Liberals support of Trans Mountain, he has roots in Saskatchewan and will likely be called on to help respond to the discontent about the Liberals plan to meet the Paris climate targets, hit net-zero emissions by 2050, all while still supporting Canadas natural resource sector.

LeBlanc stepped away from his duties as minister of intergovernmental and northern affairs in April after being diagnosed with cancer.

Though, in his role as public safety and emergency preparedness minister, Bill Blair will be in charge of preparing for threats related to climate-related emergencies. Blairs focus on border and organized crime is being folded back into his new public safety role, which will include executing the promised gun control reforms.

It’s a big step-up for an MP who had to fend off a strong Progressive Conservative candidate during the 2019 election.

Catherine McKennas new role as minister of infrastructure and communities will also have an environmental focus, when it comes to public transit and green infrastructure. During her four-year tenure in the environmental portfolio, McKenna faced considerable backlash online and real security threats.

READ MORE: Trudeau unveils major cabinet changes with Freeland as deputy PM, new ministers for diversity, middle class

The slate of regional development agencies have all been assigned to Melanie Joly, who will assume responsibility for them in her job as minister of economic development but she will be supported by six dedicated parliamentary secretaries that have yet to be named. She maintains her official languages portfolio as well. Tourism has been folded into her responsibilities as well.

Along with Jordan and LeBlanc, Newfoundland MP Seamus ORegan has become the new minister of natural resources.

Trudeau is no longer the minister for youth, thats been given to Bardish Chagger, as part of her a brand new minister of diversity, inclusion and youth role. This includes advancing LGBTQ policies, as there is no longer a special adviser with that role.

Other MPs from the West who nabbed a spot in cabinet include Winnipeg’s Dan Vandal, appointed minister of Northern Affairs. British Columbia’s Jonathan Wilkinson was shuffled to Environment from Fisheries, and Carla Qualtrough, also from B.C., was moved to Employment, Workforce Development and Disability Inclusion from her previous role as minister of public services, procurement and accessibility.

There is also no longer a minister for democratic institutions, the person in that role was Karina Gould who becomes minister of international development.

She’d previously served as Trudeau’s foreign affairs ministers, and now will need to bring her diplomatic skills to bear on the home front at time when provincial-federal relationships are exceptionally rocky due to issues including the federal carbon tax, immigration and the Trans Mountain pipeline.

Dominic Leblancs new role as president of the Queens Privy Council of Canada will see him back in cabinet full time, after taking a step back for cancer treatment. His new job includes supporting the governments engagement with the Senate, which Trudeau is looking to cement in legislation as independent. Its expected that the democratic institutions files will now be part of LeBlancs portfolio.

Bald and wearing a medical mask during the swearing in, this new role is likely to be less intensive as he continues to recover. When he read his oath he received a standing ovation from his colleagues.

Other shakeups to the front bench include making the new President of the Treasury Board Jean-Yves Duclos; Patty Hajdu is now taking on health and will be the lead on implementing a national pharmacare program and will likely play a role when the government reveals how it intends to respond to the September court ruling on the physician-assisted dying legislation being too restrictive.

Minister of International Trade Diversification Jim Carr arrives for a family photo at the Ottawa Ministerial on WTO Reform, in Ottawa on Thursday, Oct. 25, 2018. Justin Tang / THE CANADIAN PRESS

The minister of families, children and social development is now Ahmed Hussen; Minister of fisheries and oceans and Canadian Coast Guard is Bernadette Jordan; Seamus ORegan takes on the natural resources file and has been pitched as a good fit because he is from an oil-producing province; Filomena Tassi is now the minister of labour, and Carla Qualtrough has been appointed as the next minister of employment, workforce development. She adds on the accessibility file which she has maintained throughout her tenure in cabinet.

His appointment came as part of a broad cabinet shuffle for the Liberal government that also included naming Chrystia Freeland the deputy prime minister and intergovernmental affairs minister.

Five MPs who were part of the last government but were not in cabinet got promotions. Prominent face on political panels, Marco Mendicino has been tapped as the new minister of immigration, refugees and citizenship; the new minister of seniors is Deb Schulte; and Dan Vandal takes on the northern affairs role, which was previously connected to intergovernmental affairs.

Marc Miller, one of a few close personal friends of Trudeau in the cabinet, takes in the Indigenous services role, which has seen shakeups a few times since it was created in the Liberals last mandate. While he is not Indigenous, he made headlines after delivering a statement entirely in Mohawk in the House of Commons back in 2017, in homage to the traditional land on which his riding is situated, he said at the time.

OTTAWA — Prime Minister Justin Trudeau carved out a new role in his government Wednesday designed to ensure voices on the Prairies are heard in Ottawa.

And, Mona Fortier has been appointed as the minister of middle-class prosperity and associate minister of finance. She will be focused on the central election issue of affordability and ensuring cross-government policy for the middle class are consistent.

The move follows the Liberals complete shutout in Alberta and Saskatchewan in the October federal election, including the loss of two cabinet ministers.

Rookie Oakville, Ont. MP and former law professor at the University of Toronto Anita Anand is the new minister of public services and procurement. Shell be taking on the troubled Phoenix pay system and federal procurements. Responsibility for the National Capital Commission is under her purview as well.

She and Steven Guilbeault are the two newcomers to cabinet who were elected for the first time on Oct. 21. He takes on the role as minister of canadian heritage. He entered politics with the reputation as a prominent environmentalist, but as an opponent to pipelines he has been given a portfolio that doesnt touch that file, which the government he is a part of, supports.

There had been questions about his ability to keep playing a major role in Trudeau’s cabinet as he undergoes treatment.

Guilbeault will take on the sport portfolio, no longer a role on its own and he will be looking at ways to strengthen Canadas creative economy.

That raised concerns about how voices from those provinces would have a say around the cabinet table.

Minister of digital government is a new position, and its held by Joyce Murray, who will be focused on the digital strategy of the federal government.

They said there are measures in the Liberal election platform that could find national consensus. Provincial infrastructure priorities could dovetail with Ottawa's goal of promoting green tech and fighting climate change, they said, while moves to introduce a pharmacare system (to cover, at least initially, low-income families or those dealing with life-threatening or chronic diseases) should be broadly popular.

Just 11 ministers are maintaining the portfolios they had going into the election, though three of those have slightly different responsibilities.

Freeland will be the lead on the western alienation file, but she might be sharing the load with the new environment minister, Jonathan Wilkinson, who spent many years in Saskatchewan. His style and tone offers a direct contrast to the previous minister, Catherine McKenna — whose assertive approach to the climate change file may have played well with environmentalists but was received poorly by some provinces.

Minister of Innovation, Science and Industry Navdeep Bains has added on the industry aspect and folds in the minister of science role. He will be in charge of focusing on consumer choice and competition.

"Most of these jobs can't help you win an election. But all of these jobs can cost you an election. If you're a minister who doesn't pay attention to detail or doesn't smell out a political problem or have the wherewithal to fight the department down from a bad idea … that can be much more demanding in a minority than a majority government."

Minister of Small Business, Export Promotion Mary Ng has been given the added responsibility of the International Trade Ministry.

The others who remain in their portfolios — Marie-Claude Bibeau at agriculture, Marc Garneau at transport, Navdeep Bains at innovation, science and industry, Harjit Sajjan at defence and Lawrence MacAulay at veterans affairs — are there to signal continuity, to reinforce the idea that the government has unfinished business from the last Parliament.

Minister for Women and Gender Equality Maryam Monsef adds on the rural economic development ministry to her title.

Chris Hall is the CBC's National Affairs Editor and host of The House on CBC Radio, based in the Parliamentary Bureau in Ottawa. He began his reporting career with the Ottawa Citizen, before moving to CBC Radio in 1992, where he worked as a national radio reporter in Toronto, Halifax and St. John's. He returned to Ottawa and the Hill in 1998.

David Lametti will continue to serve as the minister of justice and attorney general, though when he was sworn in he read a revised oath, one that emphasized prosecutorial independence, an apparent nod to the fact that his two roles remain together in the aftermath of the SNC-Lavalin scandal that his predecessor Jody Wilson-Raybould—now an independent MP—was at the centre of.

Her second role is more symbolic: Freeland becomes the first deputy prime minister since Anne McLellan 15 years ago. (The parallels don't end there. McLellan represented an Alberta riding, Freeland comes from the province and has family there. Both are women. Both enjoy unfettered access to their boss.)

In his oath as attorney general Lametti vowed to: "uphold the Constitution, the rule of law and the independence of the judiciary and of the prosecutorial function."

Trudeau kept nearly all of his re-elected ministers from the last government. Some — such as Bill Morneau in finance and Carolyn Bennett at Crown-Indigenous relations — continue in their old roles as a nod to stability and some of the ongoing challenges the government faces.

Finance Minister Bill Morneau stays on in the role he has held for four years, though he is getting some backup in Fortier. His first budget will be key for this government, and potentially another test of the Liberals ability to stay in power and maintain the confidence of the House of Commons.

Four years ago, Trudeau faced a major challenge in naming his first cabinet. Most of his choices were new not only to government, but to politics as well. He said his inner circle would reflect gender parity "because it's 2015." Change was the driving narrative.

Also keeping the portfolios they had heading into the 2019 federal election are: Minister of Crown-Indigenous Relations Carolyn Bennett; Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food Marie-Claude Bibeau; Minister of Transport Marc Garneau; Minister of National Revenue Diane Lebouthillier; Minister of National Defence Harjit Sajjan; and Minister of Veterans Affairs and Associate Minister of National Defence Lawrence MacAulay.

In addition to the cabinet roster, Trudeau has announced the makeup of his house leadership team. It is being led by Minister Pablo Rodriguez as leader of the government in the House of Commons. He has additionally been named Trudeaus Quebec Lieutenant, which may come into play as he navigates the relationship with the reinvigorated Bloc Quebecois that now holds third-party status in the House of Commons.

The first of those roles is to work with the premiers — particularly prominent Trudeau antagonists Jason Kenney of Alberta and Scott Moe of Saskatchewan — to show that Trudeau not only understands the frustration of people in those provinces, but intends to respond.

Kristy Duncan will take on the role as deputy house leader, meaning she is no longer in cabinet. Mark Holland will stay on as chief government whip, and Ginette Petitpas Taylor is resuming a role she had before entering cabinet: deputy government whip, another move out of cabinet.

"They key thing we know about cabinets in minority situations is that you need a cabinet with great political skills, that knows where the pitfalls are," said David Herle, who held a senior role in Paul Martin's minority government from 2004-2006.

Now, related decisions will have to be made about who gets appointed as parliamentary secretaries and who will be elected as chairs of House committees.

And, Manitoba MP Jim Carr, who was in cabinet but announced after the election that he is being treated for a form of blood cancer, has been asked to serve as a special representative for the Prairies.

The other factor may be national unity. Former B.C. premier Christy Clark pointed to the regional tensions in the Prairies and the re-emergence of the Bloc Québécois as a political force in Quebec as significant challenges Trudeau must somehow manage.

On Oct. 21, the Liberals were shut out of Alberta and Saskatchewan and the government has since said that it was listening and would factor in ways to still ensure those provinces, where a sense of alienation has been bubbling, are represented.

It does mean getting clear, measurable results, as McLellan did, for the oil and gas sector. It also means she takes on the task of addressing the most virulent outbreak of western alienation since the birth of the Reform Party in the early 1990s.

He will ensure that the people of Alberta, Saskatchewan, and Manitoba have a strong voice in Ottawa, reads a press release announcing the new cabinet lineup.

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Trudeau has also rejigged the structure and mandates of cabinet committees. There are now cabinet committees for: Agenda, Results and Communications; Operations; Global Affairs and Public Security; Reconciliation; Economy and Environment; Health and Social Affairs; and Treasury Board.

With the 43rd Parliament kicking off on Dec. 5, the new ministers have two weeks to get briefed on their files and departmental responsibilities.

Quickly after the new cabinet was named the opposition parties pounced on what they saw as shortcomings in the new roster.

Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer in a statement criticized the size of the cabinet, calling it a more bloated version of the same one that helped create an affordability crisis.

Trudeau wasted an opportunity to begin a new approach. Instead, hes doubling down on the same failures of the last four years, Scheer said.

NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh said that the lineup doesnt give him any more or less confidence in this government, and hes waiting to see what change they make. "What this government needs more than new ministers is a new commitment to working with us to deliver for Canadians," said Singh in a press release titled Trudeau shuffles cabinet, changes little.

Both Scheer and Singh have yet to unveil their critic rosters, the lineups of their caucus members who will focus on each of the governments portfolios and lead on related issues in the House of Commons and at committees.

In a series of tweets, Wilson-Raybould congratulated the new cabinet, saying that the country needs and deserves leadership that unifies the country, upholds truth, justice, and ethics, as well as being a real voice of change and action on behalf of those who elected them. She said she hopes the new cabinet will be more collaborative.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is applauded by newly named Liberal cabinet ministers following the swearing-in of the new cabinet at Rideau Hall in Ottawa on Wednesday, Nov. 20, 2019. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld

The new Liberal minority cabinet pose for a family photo following their swearing in at Rideau Hall in Ottawa on Wednesday, Nov. 20, 2019. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Justin Tang

Stay on top of whats happening on the Hill with Rachel Aiellos twice-weekly updates on the minority Parliament when its in session.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has unveiled a reconfigured cabinet that has been expanded with the intent of addressing pressing issues raised during last months federal election. With additional emphasis on middle class and regional prosperity and a new approach to representation, a dozen current ministers are taking on new portfolios and seven rookies are now in cabinet, two of whom were elected for the first time in 2019.

Stay on top of whats happening on the Hill with Rachel Aiellos twice-weekly updates on the minority Parliament when its in session.