OTTAWA — Justin Trudeau will overhaul his cabinet today as he gears up to rapidly deliver on a host of priorities for his third term as prime minister.
He is expected to add a number of new faces from the Liberal backbench, shuffle the existing roster in some of the most senior portfolios and drop at least one minister altogether.
Sources, speaking on condition of anonymity because they weren’t authorized to talk publicly about today’s swearing-in ceremony, say Foreign Affairs Minister Marc Garneau is expected to be dropped from the cabinet as Trudeau makes room for fresh blood while maintaining gender parity and regional balance.
Environment Minister Jonathan Wilkinson is expected to be moved to natural resources, with a new focus on clean tech.
Heritage Minister Steven Guilbeault, a prominent environmentalist in Quebec before jumping into politics in 2019, is expected to take over at Environment.
Defence Minister Harjit Sajjan, who has been criticized for his handling of sexual misconduct allegations among senior ranks of the military, is also expected to be moved, although he will remain in the cabinet.
Sources say the ministerial line-up is intended to signal the government’s sense of urgency to deliver on a half dozen priority commitments: climate change, affordable housing, finishing the fight against COVID-19, rebuilding a greener, more equitable economy, long-term investments in health care and reconciliation with Indigenous People.
Sources say Trudeau wants to act quickly on those priorities, in the same way the Liberals were able to mobilize the notoriously slow machinery of government to rush billions worth of emergency aid programs out the door during the pandemic.
Newcomers to the cabinet are expected to include Randy Boissonnault, elected in Edmonton Centre in 2015, defeated in 2019 and re-elected last month. He is considered a shoo-in for cabinet as one of only two Liberals elected last month in Alberta.
There are likely to be a number of new female faces around the cabinet table as well.
Trudeau has to name replacements for three women who lost their seats in last month’s election — Fisheries Minister Bernadette Jordan, Gender Equality Minister Maryam Monsef and Seniors Minister Deb Schulte — as well as Infrastructure Minister Catherine McKenna who did not seek re-election.
Trudeau has already announced that Chrystia Freeland will remain in her dual role as deputy prime minister and finance minister.
His current cabinet numbers 37, including himself. All indications are that today’s line-up will be slightly larger.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published Oct. 26, 2021.