Today, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau unveiled his new cabinet, which reflects the shift to a minority government, as well as his first major opportunity to make large (perhaps “substantial”?) changes to his government’s inner circle. These changes also reveal the opportunities that await therein for individual cabinet ministers and more broadly for the government as a whole.
A number of key Trudeau ministers stayed in their former positions, notably Minister Bill Morneau in Finance, Minister David Lametti in Justice, Minister Marc Garneau in Transport, Minister Navdeep Bains in Innovation, Science and Industry, and Minister Harjit Sajjan in National Defence.
Without a doubt, today’s biggest move was Chrystia Freeland’s shuffle from Minister of Foreign Affairs to Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs. Minister Freeland has been this government’s cabinet star since her appointment as Minister of International Trade in 2015, and she has been consistently called on to manage difficult or sensitive files.
In her new role, Minister Freeland will be responsible for navigating the tricky domestic relationships that have become a growing problem for Prime Minister Trudeau. Beyond the obvious scope of her new mandate, Minister Freeland’s promotion reflects not just her essential value as an administrator and diplomat—not to mention that of her Western roots—but also that she has a great deal of credibility within the Liberal Party’s rank and file.
While her promotion might not be intended to position her directly for a future leadership position, it sends a message throughout caucus that with good performance comes reward. Minister Freeland’s promotion also adds an important new layer to her resume—domestic affairs. Clearly, Minister Freeland is a winner in today’s shuffle.
Other notable promotions include François-Philippe Champagne to Foreign Affairs, Jean-Yves Duclos to the Treasury Board, and Bill Blair to Public Safety. Meanwhile, Minister Catherine McKenna leaves a high-profile portfolio in Environment and Climate Change to take up responsibilities for Infrastructure. Seamus O’Regan from Newfoundland leaves an often-hot seat in Veterans Affairs to take on another in Natural Resources.
The most important narrative to come out of today’s shuffle is that it lays the foundation for how Prime Minister Trudeau intends to govern with a minority. Pablo Rodriguez’s assignment as House Leader, one of the most important roles in this government, is telling. He is known to be a tough negotiator, perfectly bilingual, and has the trust of the Prime Minister and the Prime Minister’s Office. He will be responsible for paving the way for cooperation with opposition parties and drawing lines in the sand when necessary.
The other major challenge presented to Prime Minister Trudeau after the 2019 election is representing the interests of Western Canada in his cabinet, as well as defusing the increasing tensions between the region and Ottawa. It appears the Prime Minister has opted for a blended approach to managing this challenge by appointing senior regional advisors, such as former Minister of Natural Resources and International Trade Jim Carr to represent the Prairies, as well as enhancing Minister Freeland’s role as Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs.
As always, NATIONAL’s team of Public Affairs and Government relations experts is ready to help you navigate the new and exciting world of Canada’s minority government. We will also be highlighting reaction from opposition parties over the coming days.
The full new cabinet is as follows:
|Prime Minister||Justin Trudeau||QC|
|Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs||Chrystia Freeland||ON|
|Minister of Finance||Bill Morneau||ON|
|Minister of Innovation, Science and Industry||Navdeep Bains||ON|
|President of the Treasury Board||Jean-Yves Duclos||QC|
|Minister of Foreign Affairs||François-Philippe Champagne||QC|
|Minister of National Defence||Harjit Sajjan||BC|
|Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness||Bill Blair||ON|
|Minister of Justice and Attorney General||David Lametti||QC|
|Minister of Public Service and Procurement||Anita Anand||ON|
|Minister of Families, Children, and Social Development||Ahmed Hussen||ON|
|Minister of National Revenue||Diane Lebouthillier||QC|
|Minister of Natural Resources||Seamus O’Regan||NL|
|Minister of Environment and Climate Change||Jonathan Wilkinson||BC|
|Minister of Transport||Marc Garneau||QC|
|Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship||Marco E. L. Mendicino||ON|
|Minister of Labour||Filomena Tassi||ON|
|Minister of Canadian Heritage||Steven Guilbeault||QC|
|Minister of International Development||Karina Gould||ON|
|Minister for Women and Gender Equality and Rural Economic Development||Maryam Monsef||ON|
|Minister of Infrastructure and Communities||Catherine McKenna||ON|
|Minister of Digital Government||Joyce Murray||BC|
|Minister of Employment, Workforce Development, and Disability Inclusion||Carla Qualtrough||BC|
|Minister of Economic Development and Official Languages||Melanie Joly||QC|
|Minister of Seniors||Deb Schulte||ON|
|President of the Queen’s Privy Council of Canada||Dominic LeBlanc||NB|
|Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food||Marie-Claude Bibeau||QC|
|Minister of Fisheries, Oceans and the Canadian Coast Guard||Bernadette Jordan||NS|
|Minister of Small Business and Export Promotion and International Trade||Mary Ng||ON|
|Minister of Health||Patty Hajdu||ON|
|Chief Government Whip||Mark Holland||ON|
|Minister of Diversity, Inclusion and Youth||Bardish Chagger||ON|
|Government House Leader||Pablo Rodriguez||QC|
|Minister of Indigenous Services||Marc Miller||QC|
|Minister of Crown-Indigenous Relations||Carolyn Bennett||ON|
|Minister of Northern Affairs||Dan Vandal||MB|
|Minister of the Middle Class Prosperity and Associate Minister of Finance||Mona Fortier||ON|
|Minister of Veterans Affairs and Associate Minister of National Defence||Lawrence MacAulay||PEI|
——— Tiéoulé Traoré is a former Director, Government Relations at NATIONAL Public Relations