Prime Minister Justin Trudeau unveils new Liberal cabinet

Liberal MP Navdeep Bains arrives for the swearing-in ceremony in Ottawa on Wednesday, Nov. 20, 2019. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Liberal MP David Lametti arrives for the cabinet swearing-in ceremony in Ottawa on Wednesday, Nov. 20, 2019. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Liberal MP Maryam Monsef arrives with family for the cabinet shuffle at Rideau Hall in Ottawa, Wednesday November 20, 2019. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Liberal MP Catherine McKenna arrives for the swearing in of the new cabinet at Rideau Hall in Ottawa on Wednesday, Nov. 20, 2019. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Liberal MP Bill Blair arrives for the swearing-in ceremony in Ottawa on Wednesday, Nov. 20, 2019. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Liberal MP Harjit Sajjan arrives for a swearing in ceremony at Rideau Hall in Ottawa, Wednesday, November 20, 2019. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has unveiled 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 goes to Chrystia Freeland, who moves 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 has tapped Jonathan Wilkinson, formerly fisheries minister, to take on the environment portfolio.

It 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.

Although Wilkinson represents a B.C. 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 is now being treated for cancer, 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 cabinet.”

Seamus O’Regan moves 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.

Bill Morneau remains finance minister but he will now be bolstered by Ottawa MP Mona Fortier, who becomes minister of middle class prosperity and associate finance minister.

Other newcomers include Trudeau’s longtime 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.

Joan Bryden, The Canadian Press

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

COVID-19 highlights lack of connectivity in First Nations communities

Many don’t have access required to utilize online platforms, says First Nations Technology Council

Bear calls keeping new Cariboo conservation officer busy

Residents are reminded to secure attractants in Williams Lake and Quesnel

Update: 150 Mile VFD responds to vehicle fire on Highway 97 south of Williams Lake

Fire chief Stan McCarthy said the van was fully engulfed when crews arrived

Jayson Gilbert charged in Williams Lake murder of Richard “Savage” Duncan

Gilbert also faces first degree murder in the Rudy Johnson Bridge death of Branton Regner

B.C. legislature coming back June 22 as COVID-19 emergency hits record

Pandemic restrictions now longer than 2017 wildfire emergency

Facing changes together: Your community, your journalists

Thanks for helping the Williams Lake Tribune continue its mission to provide trusted local news

COVID-19: B.C. too dependent on foreign food production workers

New B.C. job site links unemployed with farm, seafood work

B.C. businesses ‘can’t shoulder burden’ of COVID-19 sick pay

Trudeau’s plan should be tied to federal emergency aid

Another Asian giant ‘murder hornet’ found in Lower Mainland

This is the farthest east the invasive species has been found so far

B.C. girl left temporarily paralyzed by tick bite sparks warning from family

Mom says parents need to check their kids when they go camping

PHOTOS: Loved ones reunite at an oasis on closed U.S.-Canada border in Surrey

Officials closed the park in mid-March over coronavirus concerns

Feds delay national action plan for missing and murdered Indigenous women

Meanwhile, the pandemic has exacerbated the violence facing many Indigenous women and girls

B.C.’s essential grocery, hardware store employees should get pandemic pay: retail group

Only B.C.’s social, health and corrections workers are eligible for top-ups

Most Read