OTTAWA -- Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has considerably shaken up his cabinet roster, naming new ministers to key portfolios including defence, health, foreign affairs, and environment, while adding in a handful of rookies as he forges ahead with a third mandate.
The 39-member cabinet was unveiled Tuesday at a swearing-in ceremony at Rideau Hall in Ottawa. The prime minister’s new front bench maintains gender parity and includes a new emphasis on regional development agencies.
There are several new cabinet roles, while many other positions have been revamped to include new or different elements, with just seven ministers holding on to the same title and role they had before the ceremony.
“We have a team of familiar faces and new faces that are ready to put all their strengths, all their hard work towards delivering for Canadians in the coming years,” Trudeau told reporters Tuesday afternoon.
Addressing the sizeable renovation of his cabinet, Trudeau said it stems from the 2021 federal election outcome that saw Canadians opt to send back largely the same seat allocation as there was previously.
“One of the things we saw very clearly in this election was that Canadians are expecting big things to be done by Parliament, and by this government,” Trudeau said, citing ending the pandemic for good, building an “inclusive” economy, fighting climate change, and continuing Indigenous reconciliation as examples. “With a refreshed and reinvigorated team around me, I'm really excited about what we're going to be able to accomplish for Canadians and I know that this team is raring to go.”
Anita Anand, who led the country’s COVID-19 vaccine procurement effort, is replacing Harjit Sajjan as minister of defence in taking on the military’s sexual misconduct crisis. Sajjan is being moved to minister of international development.
“My top priority is to make sure that everyone in the Armed Forces feels safe and protected and that they have the support that they need, when they need them, and the structures in place to ensure that justice is served,” said Anand during the post-ceremony cabinet media availability.
“There isn’t a position that I’ve left where you’re fully content with it,” Sajjan said of his move.
Canada’s new procurement minister, who will quickly face pressure to ensure all contracts with pharmaceutical companies are in place for potential COVID-19 booster shots, is Filomena Tassi.
Patty Hajdu has been moved from the health file after 19 months of the COVID-19 pandemic and has been given a new mandate as minister of Indigenous services. Carolyn Bennett has been shuffled out of Crown-Indigenous relations, and that portfolio has been given to Marc Miller. Hajdu will soon play a role in the government deciding whether it will appeal a decision by the Federal Court to uphold two Canadian Human Rights Tribunal orders requiring Ottawa to pay out billions of dollars to Indigenous children.
Speaking about the challenges ahead in his new role, Miller said that he does not have just one priority.
“This relationship started with land. The relationship has been broken because of land, land theft, and it's time to give land back. That's just the reality of it. It is easily said, it's more difficultly done... I think we've built a measure of trust that I think I can take into this department and start moving quickly on things that one, shouldn't have happened in the first place, and in order to fix them, need to move a whole heck of a lot quicker.”
Jean-Yves Duclos is the new minister of health, and Bennett has been tapped to be his associate minister of health as well as holding the new role of minister of mental health and addictions. Also taking on a new role is Ahmed Hussen, as the minister of housing, diversity and inclusion.
The public safety portfolio has been split in two, seeing Bill Blair maintain the emergency preparedness element, while Marco Mendicino takes on public safety. Replacing Mendicino as immigration, refugees and citizenship minister is cabinet newcomer from Atlantic Canada, Sean Fraser.
Among the other Liberals new to cabinet—most of whom have been MPs for years—are Mark Holland, who previously was the chief government whip but is now taking the key Government House Leader role stickhandling legislation through the minority Commons; re-elected Randy Boissonnault, Marci Ien, Helena Jaczek, Kamal Khera, Gudie Hutchings, and newly-elected Pascale St-Onge. St-Onge made history as Canada's first out lesbian in cabinet.
Bardish Chagger and veteran Liberal Marc Garneau have been shuffled out of cabinet, and stepping into the foreign affairs portfolio previously held by Garneau will be Melanie Joly.
In this senior and high-profile role, Joly will take on Canada’s international and diplomatic relationships, including with the United States and China.
In a tweet, Joly called her new appointment “a great honour.” “As the world is changing, we will be strategic in our actions. We will conduct our international affairs in a true Canadian fashion: with humility and audacity,” she said.
Jonathan Wilkinson is moving from environment to natural resources, and long-time environmental activist Steven Guilbeault is Canada’s new environment minister.
“After 30 years of fighting climate change outside of government, I am humbled and I am honoured to be given the opportunity to accelerate our fight against climate change as Canada’s new Minister of Environment and Climate Change,” Guilbeault tweeted on Tuesday.
The decision to put new faces in the foreign affairs and environment files comes just days before Trudeau’s trip to the G20 Summit in Italy and then the United Nations Climate Change Conference in Scotland. Now, he’ll be joined by some new faces meeting their international colleagues potentially for the first time at these summits.
Moving back into the Canadian heritage role is Pablo Rodriguez, who will quickly face a few hot files, including what becomes of a controversial online content regulation proposal formerly titled Bill C-10, and promised new online harms legislation that had a contentious consultation process this summer.
Rodriguez told reporters that he “will be consulting,” but still intends to move forward the promised bills quickly.
Jim Carr, who previously was Trudeau’s special representative for the Prairies, no longer has a role in cabinet.
Asked about why he removed three ministers, Trudeau said that: “Cabinet making requires difficult choices.”
As for the speculation that Marc Garneau has a diplomatic post lined up, Trudeau refused to confirm it, saying that “there will be, of course, plenty more announcements that we'll be making over the coming weeks and months.”
In late September, Trudeau announced that Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland would stay put and continue to be his second in command.
The ministers and ministers-designate strode up the driveway Tuesday morning, tucked under umbrellas and behind facemasks, alongside their loved ones. An orchestra played upon their arrival, and inside the ballroom where the ceremony took place, one-by-one the new cabinet were greeted by Trudeau and Gov. Gen. Mary May Simon as they read their oaths of office.
NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh held a press conference following the swearing-in event, calling for the federal cabinet to get to work “right away” on key issues, such as the future of COVID-19 aid benefits, climate change, and reconciliation.
“We want to see actions on really solving these problems, delivering real justice. That's what we're looking for,” he said.
In a statement, Conservative Leader Erin O’Toole described Trudeau’s roster of mostly incumbent ministers—all but eight have held cabinet roles previously—as “inexperienced and ideologically driven individuals who represent a real risk to our economic prosperity and our national unity.”
“Today’s changes to cabinet represent just another example of the Prime Minister continuing to reward ministers who have consistently demonstrated incompetence and a lack of accountability,” said O’Toole.
Backed by his ministers, Trudeau received applause when he responded simply “yes” when asked by CTV News whether he intends on leading the Liberal Party into the next election. First, however, he has the new Parliament to navigate with this new inner circle. The 44th Parliament will kick off on Nov. 22, with a speech from the throne.
Here’s the full new roster of cabinet ministers:
Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance Chrystia Freeland
Minister of Transport Omar Alghabra
Minister of National Defence Anita Anand
Minister of Mental Health and Addictions and Associate Minister of Health Carolyn Bennett
Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food Marie-Claude Bibeau
President of Queen’s Privy Council for Canada and Minister of Emergency Preparedness Bill Blair
Minister of Tourism and Associate Minister of Finance Randy Boissonnault
Minister of Innovation, Science and Industry Francois-Phillipe Champagne
Minister of Health Jean-Yves Duclos
President, Treasury Board Mona Fortier
Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Sean Fraser
Minister of Families, Children and Social Development Karina Gould
Minister of Environment and Climate Change Steven Guilbeault
Minister of Indigenous Services and Minister responsible for the Federal Economic Development Agency for Northern Ontario Patty Hajdu
Leader of the Government in the House of Commons Mark Holland
Minister of Housing and Diversity and Inclusion Ahmed Hussen
Minister of Rural Economic Development Gudie Hutchings
Minister of Women, Gender Equality and Youth Marci Ien
Minister responsible for the Federal Economic Development Agency for Southern Ontario Helena Jaczek
Minister of Foreign Affairs Mélanie Joly
Minister of Seniors Kamal Khera
Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada David Lametti
Minister of intergovernmental Affairs, Infrastructure and Communities Dominic Leblanc
Minister of National Revenue Diane Lebouthillier
Minister of Veterans Affairs and Associate Minister of National Defence Lawrence MacAulay
Minister of Public Safety Marco Mendicino
Minister of Crown-Indigenous Relations Marc Miller
Minister of Fisheries, Oceans and the Canadian Coast Guard Joyce Murray
Minister of International Trade, Export Promotion, Small Business and Economic Development Mary Ng
Minister of Labour Seamus O’Regan Jr.
Minister of Official Languages and Minister responsible for the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency Ginette Petitpas Taylor
Minister of Employment, Workforce Development and Disability Inclusion Carla Qualtrough
Minister of Canadian Heritage and Quebec Lieutenant Pablo Rodriguez
Minister of International Development and Minister responsible for the Pacific Economic Development Agency of Canada Harjit Sajjan
Minister of Sport and Minister responsible for the Economic Development Agency of Canada for the Regions of Quebec Pascale St-Onge
Minister of Public Services and Procurement Filomena Tassi
Minister of Northern Affairs, Minister responsible for the Canadian Northern Economic Development Agency Dan Vandal
Minister of Natural Resources Jonathan Wilkinson