Seven rookies promoted, most ministers on the move in major Trudeau cabinet shuffle
Rachel Aiello Senior
Digital Parliamentary Reporter
In a major shuffle unfolding at Rideau Hall, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is promoting seven rookies to his front bench, dropping seven ministers, and reassigning the majority of cabinet roles.
In a ceremony being presided over by Gov. Gen. Mary Simon, Trudeau is orchestrating one of, if not the most consequential reconfigurations to his cabinet since 2015.
Here are some of the big changes:
- Anita Anand becomes Treasury Board president
- Bill Blair becomes defence minister
- Dominic LeBlanc becomes public safety, democratic institutions, and intergovernmental affairs minister
- Sean Fraser becomes minister of housing, infrastructure and communities
- Pablo Rodriguez becomes transport minister and maintains the Quebec lieutenant role
- Pascale St-Onge becomes heritage minister
- Jean-Yves Duclos becomes minister of public services and procurement
- Mark Holland becomes minister of health
- Jonathan Wilkinson becomes minister of energy and maintains natural resources
- Harjit Sajjan becomes King's Privy Council president
- Carla Qualtrough becomes minister of sport and physical activity
- Marc Miller becomes minister of immigration, refugees and citizenship
- Ahmed Hussen becomes minister of international development
- Seamus O’Regan maintains minister of labour role, but adds in responsibility for seniors
- Kamal Khera becomes minister of diversity, inclusion, and persons with disabilities
- Randy Boissonnault becomes minister of employment, workforce development, and official languages
- Karina Gould becomes leader of the government in the House of Commons
Trudeau has also announced that when Gould takes parental leave this winter, given she's expecting her second child, Chief Government Whip Steven MacKinnon will take over as House leader until she returns, and current deputy whip Ruby Sahota will fill in for MacKinnon.
Seven ministers are out of cabinet: Omar Alghabra, Joyce Murray, Helena Jaczek, Carolyn Bennett, Marco Mendicino, David Lametti, and Mona Fortier.
These departures have paved the way for the prime minister to promote several backbench Liberal MPs from key battleground ridings in Ontario, Quebec, and British Columbia.
The seven rookie MPs who have clinched cabinet posts are:
- Scarborough-Rouge Park, Ont. MP Gary Anandasangaree, first elected in 2015 becomes minister of Crown-Indigenous relations
- Parkdale-High Park, Ont. MP Arif Virani, first elected in 2015 becomes minister of justice and attorney general
- Burnaby North-Seymour, B.C. MP Terry Beech, first elected in 2015 becomes minister of citizens; services, a new title
- Hochelaga, Que. MP Soraya Martinez Ferrada, first elected in 2019 becomes minister of tourism and is responsible for the Quebec economic development agency
- York Centre, Ont. MP Ya'ara Saks, first elected in a 2020 byelection becomes minister of mental health and addictions
- Kanata-Carleton, Ont. MP Jenna Sudds, first elected in 2021 becomes minister of families, children and social development
- Mississauga-Streetsville, Ont. MP Rechie Valdez, first elected in 2021 becomes minister of small business
Eight ministers are holding on to their current jobs:
- Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland
- Minister of Innovation, Science and Industry Francois-Philippe Champagne
- Foreign Affairs Minister Melanie Joly
- Environment and Climate Change Minister Steven Guilbeault
- Indigenous Services Minister Patty Hajdu
- Women and Gender Equality and Youth Minister Marci Ien
- Minister of Northern Affairs Dan Vandal, who also oversees Prairie economic development
- Minister Filomena Tassi who is responsible for the Federal Economic Development Agency for Southern Ontario
Trudeau arrived oversee the major federal political event of the summer, calling it “a great day.” Similarly, as Liberals arrived to a spray of television cameras and political reporters, few said much about what awaited them inside, though a few indicated that it was a good morning and were looking forward to their new roles.
Trudeau's entire top tier has been invited to attend the ceremony at the governor general's residence, regardless of if they're on the move or not. The shuffle is likely to also trigger machinery of government changes such as changes to certain ministers’ titles or portfolio responsibilities, as well as a considerable staffing shakeup.
A senior government source told CTV News that Trudeau and his inner circle have looked at this shuffle as "fortifying" the prime minister's economic team around issues such as housing affordability and the clean energy transition, to present a clear contrast to their main Conservative opponents when it comes to how they view and communicate on these issues.
It's also been widely discussed that elevating high-performers into key posts today may help the Liberals, after eight years in power, present a refreshed face to make the case to the Canadian public that they're re-electable.
While four outgoing ministers have announced they aren't running again, Fortier and Lametti have yet to speak about their plans after being booted from cabinet.
In a statement posted to social media Wednesday morning, Mendicino—who was at the centre of shuffle chatter over his handling of hot files—said it had been "an honour" to serve as a minister in the immigration and public safety portfolios for nearly four years, and said he plans to stick around as the Liberal MP for Eglinton-Lawrence, Ont.
"Those who know me well know that politics is in my blood… I have every intention of continuing to serve for the remainder of this mandate, and into the next election," Mendicino said.
"To my cabinet and caucus colleagues, it remains a privilege to work with you. The seating arrangements may move around in the House of Commons from time to time, but we are family and committed to the same cause."
Wednesday's changes have not changed the size of the cabinet, with 38 members—19 men and 19 women— in the gender-balanced cabinet, not counting the prime minister.
This shakeup is the first major change since the Liberals' 2021 election win, and the prime minister is hoping with these changes to lock in the team he will lead into the next election, currently slated for 2025.
The prime minister will speak to media following the shuffle, at 12:15 p.m. EDT and lead a 4 p.m. EDT cabinet meeting Wednesday afternoon with the new roster, in West Block.
Then, it'll be on the new and reassigned ministers to get down to work on the refocused promises Trudeau mandates them to prioritize, and prepare for the September return of Parliament.
This is a breaking news update, more to come…