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New defence, health, foreign affairs ministers in sizable cabinet shakeup

TORONTO – Many new faces, some confirmations, some surprises. The new federal executive evidently marks the will of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to turn the page and push on the accelerator in the government agenda, after the vote of last September 20 that once again handed over power to the liberal leader, albeit with a relative and not an absolute majority. Compared to the previous government team, there are only seven ministers who retain the post they had in the previous legislature. Throughout the new executive will be composed of 39 members, including two ministries without portfolio brand new, the one that will have to deal with Mental Health and that of Housing. 

Once again to have a central role in the federal government will be Chrystia Freeland, confirmed in the dual post of deputy prime minister and minister of Finance. Important confirmation also for the Italian Canadian David Lametti in the delicate role of Federal Attorney General and Minister of Justice. As had been widely expected, there was the change of guard at the Defence: Harjit Sajjan moves to International Development, in her place comes Anita Anand.

Changes also in the Ministry of Health: the new minister Jean-Yves Duclos replaces Patty Hajdu, moved to the ministry of Indigenous Services and Minister responsible for the Federal Economic Development Agency for Northern Ontario. As anticipated today by the Corriere Canadese, Steven Guilbeault becomes the new Minister of the Environment while Jonathan Wilkinson is diverted to Natural Resources.

Talking about promotion, the biggest leap was made by Mélanie Joly, who becomes Foreign Minister.

Two other Italian Canadian representatives remain in government, but with different positions: Filomena Tassi becomes the Minister of Public Services and Procurement, while Marco Mendicino leaves Immigration and passes to Public Safety, a dicastery whose competences have been divided with the newborn Minister of Emergency Preparedness, entrusted to Bill Blair.

Sean Fraser is the new Minister of Immigration, while another rising star of the liberal galaxy, Omar Alghabra, switches to Transport. Bardish Chagger and Marc Garneau leave the government, while another veteran, Carolyn Bennett, is downgraded to associate minister for Mental Health. Randy Boissonnault, the new Minister of Tourism, joined the executive, while Francois-Phillipe Champagne is confirmed for Trade and Innovation.

Mona Fortier is entrusted with the delicate department of the Treasury, Marci Ien the Ministry for Women and Gender Equality and Youth while Mark Holland becomes Leader of the Government in the House of Commons.

Then came important confirmations with the change of dicastery. Seamus O’Regan becomes Minister of Labour, Carla Qualtrough goes to the Public Service, Ahmed Hussen is appointed to the newly created Department for Housing (housing emergency) while Marie-Claude Bibeau becomes Minister of Agriculture.

Helena Jaczek and Kamal Khera join the government: the former minister of the provincial government of Kathleen Wynne at the head of the Federal Agency for Economic Development of Southern Ontario, the mp instead to the Ministry for the Seniors.

Three other Trudeau loyalists will continue to be part of the government cabinet. Marc Miller is confirmed in the Ministry of Crown and Indigenous Relations, Joyce Murray goes to Fisheries and Mary Ng to International Trade.

Karina Gould moves to the Ministry of Family and Social Development, Gudie Hutchings to Rural Economic Development, Dominic Leblanc goes to Intergovernmental Affairs, Diane Lebouthillier to National Resources, while Ginette Petitpas Taylor will be responsible for the Development of the Atlantic areas. Finally, Pablo Rodriguez leaves the role of group leader in the Chamber and returns to be the Minister for Heritage, Pascale St-Onge becomes Minister of Sport and Dan Vandal will take care of the Affairs and Development of the Northern Regions.

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