Trudeau’s new cabinet has many familiar faces

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On Wednesday, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau unveiled his new cabinet which is largely made up of all the players in the old cabinet with the addition of seven new faces.

“I’m 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.

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.

Gender balance has been maintained; a standard Trudeau set when his first cabinet was sworn-in in 2015.

The full lineup of the 29th federal ministry was announced at a Rideau Hall swearing-in ceremony overseen by Gov. Gen. Julie Payette. The group will hold their first cabinet meeting in Ottawa on Thursday afternoon.

Trudeau has named Chrystia Freeland to be his deputy prime minister, the first time someone has held that role in cabinet since 2006. Freeland is expected to play a very significant role in this government.

Francois-Philippe Champagne is taking over for Freeland as minister of foreign affairs.

Bill Blair’s role as public safety and emergency preparedness minister has been expanded to include being in charge of preparing for threats related to climate-related emergencies. Blair’s 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.

Catherine McKenna is now minister of infrastructure and communities will also have an environmental focus.

The slate of regional development agencies has been assigned to Melanie Joly, who will assume responsibility for them in her job as minister of economic development.

Bardish Chagger takes charge as the first “minister of diversity, inclusion and youth”. This includes advancing LGBTQ policies, as there is no longer a special adviser with that role.

Patty Hajdu is now taking on health and will be the lead on implementing a national pharmacare program. This will be an important file given that the Liberals will be under pressure to make some serious announcements on the issue.

The minister of families, children and social development is now Ahmed Hussen.

Seamus O’Regan takes on the natural resources file.

The important immigration, refugees and citizenship portfolio has been given to Marco Mendicino.

PM Trudeau really takes the middle-class seriously, so seriously that we now have Mona Fortier who has been appointed “minister of middle-class prosperity” and associate minister of finance. She will focus on the central election issue of affordability and ensuring cross-government policy for the middle class are consistent.

Rookie Oakville, Ont. MP and former law professor at the University of Toronto Anita Anand is the new minister of public services and procurement. She’ll 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 October 21. He takes on the role as minister of Canadian heritage.

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.

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

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

Bill Morneau stays on in the role as Finance Minister.

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.

Minister Pablo Rodriguez will be leader of the government in the House of Commons. He has additionally been named Trudeau’s Quebec Lieutenant.
Meanwhile 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, he’s doubling down on the same failures of the last four years,” Scheer said.

NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh said that the lineup doesn’t give him any more or less confidence in this government, and he’s 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.” -CINEWS

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