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WATCH: Justin Trudeau Unveils His New Cabinet, Chrystia Freeland Becomes Deputy PM, 7 New Faces At Cabinet Table

Darpan News Desk The Canadian Press, 20 Nov, 2019 09:17 PM

    OTTAWA - Prime Minister Justin Trudeau unveiled Wednesday a larger cabinet that aims to advance Liberal campaign promises to tackle climate change and promote middle-class prosperity, while attempting to soothe regional tensions exacerbated by last month's election outcome.

     

    The pivotal role in his new cabinet for a minority-government era went to Chrystia Freeland, who moved from the prestigious Global Affairs portfolio to become deputy prime minister and minister in charge of intergovernmental affairs.

     

    Freeland, whom Trudeau tapped to deal with mercurial U.S. President Donald Trump during the tense renegotiation of the North American Free Trade Agreement, will now be in charge of dealing with hostile conservative premiers across the country.

     

    That will be particularly important in Canada's oil and gas heartland, Alberta and Saskatchewan, where the Liberals were shut out on Oct. 21.

     

    The Toronto MP, who has family roots in Alberta, won praise as a tough, canny negotiator during the trade talks. Her diplomatic and negotiating skills will be put to the test in dealing with Alberta's Jason Kenney, Saskatchewan's Scott Moe and Ontario's Doug Ford.

     

    In a further sign of outreach to the West, Trudeau tapped Jonathan Wilkinson, formerly fisheries minister, to take on the environment portfolio.

     

    The post will be central to the government's aim to take stronger measures to combat climate change while attempting to ensure Canada's transition off fossil fuels does not tank the economy, particularly in the oil-producing western provinces where separatist talk has escalated in the wake of the election.

     

    Although Wilkinson represents a British Columbia riding, he was born and raised in Saskatchewan and worked for the province's former NDP government.

     

    Winnipeg MP Jim Carr, one of Trudeau's most reliable ministers who received a diagnosis of cancer the day after the election, is no longer in cabinet. But Trudeau has appointed him to be his "special representative for the Prairies ... (to) ensure that the people of Alberta, Saskatchewan and Manitoba have a strong voice in Ottawa."

     

    Another of his most reliable ministers who is also battling cancer, New Brunswick MP Dominic LeBlanc, remains in cabinet in a reduced role as president of the Queen's Privy Council. A bald LeBlanc, who recently received a stem cell transplant after rounds of chemotherapy, showed up for Wednesday's swearing-in ceremony wearing a face mask, which he removed briefly while taking the oath.

     

    Seamus O'Regan was moved from Indigenous Services to take on Natural Resources, a crucial file as the government attempts to square the circle of tackling climate change while simultaneously expanding the Trans Mountain pipeline to carry Alberta crude to the B.C. coast for export overseas.

     

    He hails from Newfoundland and Labrador, the only other oil-producing province.

     

    Trudeau's new lineup also includes outreach to Quebec, in response to a resurgence of the separatist Bloc Quebecois in the election.

     

    Montreal MP Pablo Rodriguez, formerly Canadian Heritage minister, takes on the crucial role of government House leader.

     

    He will be responsible for charting a path for the Liberals, who hold only a minority of seats, to get their legislation through the House of Commons. Passage of legislation will require the support of at least one opposition party.

     

    Rodriguez has also been named political minister for Quebec — a position Trudeau had resisted creating until now.

     

    In all, Trudeau's new team includes 36 ministers — an increase of two — including 17 from Ontario, the province that ensured the Liberals' re-election, and 10 from Quebec.

     

    It maintains Trudeau's insistence on an equal number of men and women, adds two newly elected MPs and elevates five experienced MPs from the backbench.

     

    In addition to Carr, Trudeau has dropped two others from cabinet — former health minister Ginette Petitpas Taylor, who will serve as deputy whip, and former science minister Kirsty Duncan, who will serve as deputy House leader.

     

    Only eight ministers were not moved, the most important being Bill Morneau who remains finance minister. But he will now be bolstered by Ottawa MP Mona Fortier, who takes on the newly created post of minister of middle-class prosperity and associate finance minister.

     

    Other newcomers include Trudeau's long-time friend, Montreal MP Marc Miller, who moves from the backbench to Indigenous Services, rookie Oakville MP Anita Anand, who takes over public services and procurement, and rookie Montreal MP Steven Guilbeault, a prominent environmentalist, who was given the heritage portfolio.

     

    Other new additions include Toronto MP Marco Mendicino, who takes over immigration, Toronto-area MP Deb Schulte who takes over as seniors minister, and Manitoba MP Dan Vandal, who becomes minister of northern affairs.

     

    Trudeau has created a number of new portfolios, including one which appears to be an attempt to repair the damage done during the campaign by the disclosure of mortifying, long-ago photos showing Trudeau in blackface — a scandal that tarnished his image as a champion of diversity and inclusion.

     

    He has now named Bardish Chagger, previously House leader, to be minister of the newly created post of diversity, inclusion and youth.

     

    Other moves include Catherine McKenna, who spearheaded the controversial imposition of a national carbon tax, to Infrastructure; Francois-Philippe Champagne to Foreign Affairs; Patti Hajdu to Health; Jean-Yves Duclos to Treasury Board; Karina Gould to International Development; Ahmed Hussen to Families, Children and Social Development; Bernadette Jordan to Fisheries; Joyce Murray to the newly created post of Digital Government; Carla Qualtrough to Employment; Melanie Joly to Economic Development; and Filomena Tassi to Labour.

     

    Among the few who were not moved were Defence Minister Harjit Sajjan, Justice Minister David Lametti, National Revenue Minister Diane Lebouthillier, Agriculture Minister Marie-Claude Bibeau, Crown-Indigenous Relations Minister Carolyn Bennett, Innovation Minister Navdeep Bains and Transport Minister Marc Garneau.

     

    Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer blasted Trudeau's new cabinet line-up, accusing the prime minister of doubling down on "the same faces and the same failures."

     

    "The cabinet he unveiled today is a bigger and more bloated version of the same one that helped create an affordability crisis for Canadian families, attacked our energy sector and put thousands of Canadians out of work and set the stage for a national unity crisis," Scheer said in a statement.

     

    He added that the appointment of Guilbeault, a long-time anti-pipeline activist, will "only further stoke divisions" Trudeau has created in the country.

     

    New Democrat Leader Jagmeet Singh said he is more concerned with what the cabinet ministers do than who they are.

     

    "What this government needs more than new ministers is a new commitment to working with us to deliver for Canadians," Singh said in a statement.

     

    "When they're ready to work to protect and create jobs, make life more affordable, invest in the services people need, and ensure real steps are taken to fight the climate crisis— New Democrats will work with the prime minister and his new cabinet."

     

    WHO'S WHO IN JUSTIN TRUDEAU'S CABINET: SOME NEW, SOME OLD AND OTHERS IN NEW PLACES

     

    OTTAWA - The returning, changing and new members of Justin Trudeau's cabinet:

    Chrystia Freeland becomes deputy prime minister and minister of intergovernmental affairs

    Anita Anand becomes minister of public services and procurement

    Navdeep Bains becomes minister of innovation, science and industry

    Carolyn Bennett remains minister of Crown-Indigenous relations

    Marie-Claude Bibeau remains minister of agriculture and agri-food

    Bill Blair becomes minister of public safety and emergency preparedness

    Bardish Chagger becomes minister of diversity and inclusion and youth

    Francois-Philippe Champagne becomes minister of foreign affairs

    Jean-Yves Duclos becomes president of the Treasury Board

    Mona Fortier becomes minister of middle-class prosperity and associate minister of finance

    Marc Garneau remains minister of transport

    Karina Gould becomes minister of international development

    Steven Guilbeault becomes minister of Canadian heritage

    Patty Hajdu becomes minister of health

    Ahmed Hussen becomes minister of families, children and social development

    Melanie Joly becomes minister of economic development and official languages

    Bernadette Jordan becomes minister of fisheries, oceans and the Canadian Coast Guard

    David Lametti remains minister of justice and attorney general

    Dominic LeBlanc becomes president of the Queen's Privy Council for Canada

    Diane Lebouthillier remains minister of national revenue

    Lawrence MacAulay remains minister of veterans affairs and associate minister of national defence

    Catherine McKenna becomes minister of infrastructure and communities

    Marco Mendicino becomes minister of immigration, refugees and citizenship

    Marc Miller becomes minister of Indigenous services

    Maryam Monsef becomes minister for women and gender equality and rural economic development

    Bill Morneau remains minister of finance

    Joyce Murray becomes minister of digital government

    Mary Ng becomes minister of small business, export promotion and international trade

    Seamus O'Regan becomes minister of natural resources

    Carla Qualtrough becomes minister of employment, workforce development and disability inclusion

    Pablo Rodriguez becomes leader of the government in the House of Commons

    Harjit Sajjan remains minister of national defence

    Deb Schulte becomes minister of seniors

    Filomena Tassi becomes minister of labour

    Dan Vandal becomes minister of northern affairs

    Jonathan Wilkinson becomes minister of environment and climate change

     

     

    SEVEN NEW FACES IN TRUDEAU'S MINORITY CABINET

     

    OTTAWA - Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has welcomed some new faces into his cabinet, including some rookie MPs and former Liberal backbenchers.

     

    Steven Guilbeault, Canadian Heritage

     

    Guilbeault, a prominent Quebec environmental activist, was one of the Liberals' star candidates during the federal election campaign and was highly expected to be tapped for cabinet after winning the Montreal riding of Laurier—Sainte-Marie in the Oct. 21 vote. Guilbeault, who spent a decade with Greenpeace and also founded a major Quebec environmental advocacy group called Equiterre, has been an outspoken opponent of the Trans Mountain pipeline project, which the Liberal government bought and has promised will get built. But Guilbeault has said he felt he could do more to fight climate change from inside the Liberal tent.

     

    Anita Anand, Public Services and Procurement

     

    The law professor, who took the Toronto-area riding of Oakville from the Conservatives, might be new to federal politics, but she has experience working with Liberal governments. In 2015, she was appointed by Ontario’s former Liberal finance minister, Charles Sousa, to sit on the provincial government’s expert committee on financial planning. He expertise in corporate governance and shareholder rights makes her an logical choice to head the department overseeing procurement and administration.

     

    Marc Miller, Indigenous Services

     

    Miller, a long-time close friend of Trudeau, has represented the Montreal riding of Ville-Marie—Le Sud-Ouest—Ile-des-Sœurs since 2015. He was chosen for this new role in part because of his work as parliamentary secretary to Crown-Indigenous Relations Minister Carolyn Bennett, when he led federal discussions over a proposed land deal in Oka, Que. that had created tensions between its residents and the neighbouring Mohawk community of Kanesatake. Miller also learned the Mohawk language and was the first to speak it in the House of Commons.

     

    Marco Mendicino, Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship

     

    The former federal prosecutor, who defeated former Conservative finance minister Joe Oliver in his Toronto riding in 2015, held a few parliamentary secretary roles in the previous Parliament, including for the ministers of infrastructure and justice. It's his legal background that is believed to have led to his promotion to cabinet, which included fighting against organized crime and terrorism. His Italian heritage and close connection to cultural communities is also something the Trudeau government likely sees as an asset for Mendicino as the new immigration minister.

     

    Deb Schulte, Seniors

     

    The Toronto-area MP served as the parliamentary secretary to the national revenue minister before the election. She sponsored a private member's bill recognizing the contributions that Canadians of Italian heritage had made to Canadian society, which the House of Commons passed in 2017. Schulte is a Princeton University graduate with a degree in mechanical and aerospace engineering. She served in both regional municipal government in Vaughan, Ont., before entering federal politics. Before that, she worked in management for Bombardier Aerospace for 22 years.

     

    Dan Vandal, Northern Affairs

     

    The Winnipeg MP is expected to bring experience to this role, both as the former parliamentary secretary of Indigenous Services and from his 17 years on Winnipeg city council, including time as deputy mayor. His Metis heritage will also help bring important experience and perspectives to his discussions with stakeholders, as well as decisions made around the cabinet table.

     

    Mona Fortier, Middle-Class Prosperity

     

    The Ottawa MP joins cabinet as the associate minister of finance, where she will also carry the newly created title of minister for middle-class prosperity. Fortier, who won her seat in a 2017 byelection, served on a number of House of Commons committees during her time on the backbench, including human resources and social development. She also served as co-chair of the Liberal national platform committee for the 2019 election. The name of her new job suggests one of her roles will be to ensure cabinet decisions remain focused on the campaign commitment to focus on making life easier for middle-class Canadians.

     
     

    'SMART,' 'DYNAMIC' CHAMPAGNE BECOMES CANADA'S FACE IN WORLD

     

    OTTAWA - The engines were revving on Prime Minister Justin Trudeau's plane, warming up on a Beijing tarmac for a flight to China's southern industrial heartland, but one important passenger was conspicuously missing: Francois-Philippe Champagne.

     

    Champagne, then Canada's trade minister in December 2017, was left behind for what would be two days of intense closed-door meetings in the Chinese capital while Trudeau and his entourage decamped to their next destination.

     

    For the next two days, Champagne was thrown into an intense set of talks, in an attempt to find some sort of way forward on a free-trade negotiation with China — an effort that ultimately failed.

     

    Now, the unflappable and unfailingly upbeat Champagne is headed back into the thick of Canada's thorny international relations as one of Canada's faces to the world, second only to the prime minister.

     

    Champagne, 49, may not have the name recognition that his predecessor Chrystia Freeland brought to the post as an author and ex-journalist in London, Moscow and New York, but his easygoing manner belies his own ambitious rise in business and international-trade law, which earned him a "Young Global Leader" award from the World Economic Forum.

     

    Champagne has held the Quebec riding of Saint-Maurice-Champlain since 2015. It includes the city of Shawinigan, whose famous son, former prime minister Jean Chretien, is a personal hero of Champagne's.

     

    Champagne has also publicly and privately hinted he might one day aspire to the same job Chretien once held.

     

    In January 2017, Champagne took over from Freeland in the trade portfolio, tasked with delivering a massive trade deal among Pacific Rim countries known as the Trans-Pacific Partnership.

     

    "Champagne's experience with the skirmishes over TPP and Canada's first ill-fated venture into trade talks with the Chinese is good experience for some of the continuing battles he will be facing — especially when it comes to the Chinese," said Fen Hampson, of the Norman Paterson School of International Affairs at Carleton University.

     

    Shortly after, Trudeau shuffled his cabinet again and put Champagne in charge of infrastructure spending.

     

    In an interview after the shuffle, Champagne joked about how he had banned the word "spend" at Infrastructure Canada, because money it deploys is an investment, and talked about a need for the government to "move from numbers to impact."

     

    And then a short while later, he also showed he can be blunt. "It's about doing things better and smarter," he said about getting infrastructure dollars out the door. "I know that may sound very logical, but trust me, it might not always have been the case."

     

    Champagne often held roundtable meetings with local officials during his countrywide travels, and rarely missed a gathering of Federation of Canadian Municipalities officials. FCM president Bill Karsten said Champagne's ability to build relationships with big-city mayors and rural reeves was evident.

     

    "He put a lot of focus and his trademark energy into consistent, direct federal-municipal communication and partnership, including giving out his own cell phone number, which undoubtedly caused some anxiety for staff on both sides," Karsten said.

     

    "No matter how difficult it might be to meet in person or how complicated the logistics were, he (was) willing to do whatever it took to make a conversation happen."

     

    Now, those skills will be put to a new test as Canada's place in the world has never been quite so precarious, from its relations with China to unprecedented threats facing the world's institutions and traditional alliances — from NATO to the World Bank to the European Union.

     

    Roland Paris, Trudeau's first foreign-policy adviser, called Champagne "smart and dynamic," adding the new foreign minister will need every ounce of those capacities to meet the significant challenges that await him.

     

    "He will need to deal with the situation with China, clarify and co-ordinate Canada's broader Asia strategy, work with the trade minister to diversify and expand Canada's trade," said Paris, of the University of Ottawa.

     

    Canada also faces an uphill battle for a temporary seat on the United Nations Security Council, a vote for which will take place in June for a term that would begin in 2021. Canada faces stiff competition for the two available seats.

     

    Colin Robertson, a retired diplomat and foreign-affairs analyst, said Champagne will have to "run very hard and with a strategy and a campaign plan" if he hopes to land the seat and make up Norway's and Ireland's head starts.

     

    ATTORNEY GENERAL LAMETTI SWEARS NEW OATH IN WAKE OF SNC-LAVALIN AFFAIR

     

    OTTAWA - The swearing-in ceremony for members of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau's cabinet had a new element added Wednesday: a revamped oath for the attorney general and justice minister.

     

    David Lametti, who is continuing to serve in that position, had new wording incorporated into his oath as a result of the SNC-Lavalin affair.

     

    One element of the battle between Trudeau and Lametti's predecessor, Jody Wilson-Raybould, over whether the engineering firm should face trial was the fact that the attorney general and justice minister are the same person, but have two different jobs.

     

    The attorney general is understood to be an independent position, exercising non-partisan judgment about prosecutions, while the justice minister is involved in political and policy decisions, which can include partisan considerations, made around the cabinet table.

     

    The two points of view appeared to run up against each other in the SNC affair, with the attorney general of the day trying to maintain prosecutorial independence while the prime minister was urging her to intervene for what appeared to be partisan reasons.

     

    A review Trudeau ordered into whether the two positions ought to be split concluded they didn't, but suggested a new oath should be added for the attorney general to reflect their commitment to the rule of law.

     

    The oath Lametti swore Wednesday was that as minister of justice he'll see that the administration of public affairs is in accordance with the law.

     

    As attorney general he pledged to "uphold the Constitution, the rule of law and the independence of the judiciary and of the prosecutorial function."

     

    Lametti is one of 36 Liberal ministers sworn-in on Wednesday as the first official move of the Liberal minority government.

     
     

    TRUDEAU TURNS TO B.C. MP WITH SASKATCHEWAN ROOTS TO HELM TRICKY CLIMATE MINISTRY

     

    OTTAWA - Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is turning to his only cabinet minister with roots in Saskatchewan to carry this country's climate action plan further down the field without tearing the nation apart.

     

    Jonathan Wilkinson, a 54-year-old former cleantech CEO and Rhodes Scholar, is becoming the new environment minister today.

     

    He is succeeding Catherine McKenna, whose four years in the portfolio were rife with conflict as she shepherded a carbon tax applying in any province that didn't initiate an equivalent system of their own.

     

    Wilkinson represents the riding of North Vancouver but grew up in Saskatoon and once was Saskatchewan's lead negotiator in the Charlottetown Accord constitutional talks.

     

    His abilities as a negotiator and his understanding of western alienation will be tested as his first assignment will be toughening Canada's greenhouse-gas emissions targets and climate action plan amid deep-seated anger in Canada's oil and gas provinces.

     

    Wilkinson is a second-term MP who served as parliamentary secretary to McKenna for nearly three years before being promoted to cabinet as the fisheries minister in July 2018.

     

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