Filomena Tassi, Helena Jaczek swap federal cabinet roles in minor shuffle

Filomena Tassi, Helena Jaczek swap federal cabinet roles in minor shuffle

Two federal cabinet ministers from Ontario — Filomena Tassi and Helena Jaczek — swapped roles in a minor shuffle at Rideau Hall on Wednesday morning.

Tassi moved from the public services and procurement file to become the minister responsible for Federal Economic Development Agency for Southern Ontario, while Jaczek will take on the procurement portfolio.

The changes come after Tassi asked Prime Minister Justin Trudeau for a change in duties so she could spend more time in southern Ontario due to family health reasons.

In a statement released shortly after the swearing-in ceremony, Tassi said her husband suffered two strokes earlier this year.

Last month, she said, she met with Trudeau to discuss balancing the needs of her family with the travel demands required by a complex procurement file that features “operations in every corner of this country.”

“Post-stroke care can be complex and filled with uncertainty,” she added.

“I want to thank the prime minister for approaching my situation as a challenge to be addressed and solved, rather than as a choice to be made between family or public service,” Tassi said.

“I am honoured and looking forward to taking on this new responsibility to help grow the economy and create good, well-paying, middle class jobs in southern Ontario.”

Tassi has represented the riding of Hamilton West-Ancaster-Dundas since 2015 and was first appointed to Trudeau’s cabinet in 2018 as the minister for seniors. She then became the minister of labour in 2019 and was promoted to the procurement file after the 2021 election.

Jaczek, for whom the shuffle is a major promotion, was first elected in the Greater Toronto Area riding of Markham-Stouffville in 2019, defeating former Liberal cabinet minister Jane Philpott.

Philpott had resigned from cabinet as part of the fallout from the SNC-Lavalin affair in 2019 and ran in that year’s election as an Independent candidate.

Jaczek was appointed to cabinet in 2021.

In addition to her work in southern Ontario, Jaczek brings experience in the health sector and as a former Ontario minister of health and long-term care, a statement from Trudeau’s office says.

The adjustment comes one week before a cabinet retreat in Vancouver and three weeks before the House of Commons will resume sitting following its summer break.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Aug. 31, 2022.

The Canadian PressThe Canadian Press

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