PM Trudeau names new defence, health, foreign affairs ministers in sizable cabinet shakeup

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has considerably shaken up his cabinet roster, naming new ministers to key portfolios including defence, health, foreign affairs, and environment, while adding in a handful of rookies.

In a swearing-in ceremony underway at Rideau Hall, the new minority Liberal cabinet is being unveiled, and it includes some new titles, including a new minister for mental health and addictions, and a minister for housing.

Gender parity has been restored following losing four female ministers after the last election, and the front bench includes new emphasis on regional development agencies. Overall there are 39 members of the new cabinet, including Trudeau, with just seven ministers retaining the same positions they previously held, and a few others holding slightly revamped titles.

Anita Anand, who led the country’s COVID-19 vaccine procurement effort, is replacing Harjit Sajjan as minister of defence in taking on the military’s sexual misconduct crisis. Sajjan is being moved to minister of international development. Canada’s new procurement minister, who will quickly face pressure to ensure all contracts with pharmaceutical companies are in place for potential COVID-19 booster shots, is Filomena Tassi.

Patty Hajdu has been moved from the health file after 19 months of the COVID-19 pandemic and has been given a new mandate as minister of Indigenous services. Carolyn Bennett has been shuffled out of Crown-Indigenous relations, and that portfolio has been given to Marc Miller. Hajdu will soon play a role in the government deciding whether it will appeal a decision by the Federal Court to uphold two Canadian Human Rights Tribunal orders requiring Ottawa to pay out billions of dollars to Indigenous children.

Jean-Yves Duclos is the new minister of health, and Bennett has been tapped to be his associate minister of health as well as holding the new role of minister of mental health and addictions. Also taking on a new role is Ahmed Hussen, as the minister of housing, diversity and inclusion.

The public safety portfolio has been split in two, seeing Bill Blair maintain the emergency preparedness element, while Marco Mendicino takes on public safety. Replacing Mendicino as immigration, refugees and citizenship minister is cabinet newcomer from Atlantic Canada, Sean Fraser.

Among the other Liberals new to cabinet—most of whom have been MPs for years—are Mark Holland, who previously was the chief government whip but is now taking the key Government House Leader role stickhandling legislation through the minority Commons; re-elected Randy Boissonnault, Marci Ien, Helena Jaczek, Kamal Khera, Gudie Hutchings, and newly-elected Pascale St-Onge.

Bardish Chagger and veteran Liberal Marc Garneau have been shuffled out of cabinet, and stepping into the foreign affairs portfolio previously held by Garneau will be Melanie Joly.

In this senior and high-profile role, Joly will take on Canada’s international and diplomatic relationships, including with the United States and China.

Jonathan Wilkinson is moving from environment to natural resources, and long-time environmental activist Steven Guilbeault is Canada’s new environment minister.

Deciding to put new faces in the foreign affairs and environment files comes just days before Trudeau’s trip to the G20 Summit in Italy and then the United Nations Climate Change Conference in Scotland.

Moving back into Canadian heritage role is Pablo Rodriguez, who will quickly face a few hot files, including what becomes of controversial Bill C-10 and promised new online harms legislation that had a contentious consultation process this summer.

Jim Carr, who previously was in cabinet without a formal ministerial role as Trudeau’s special representative for the Prairies, was not present for the swearing-in ceremony.

In late September, Trudeau announced that Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland would stay put and continue to be his second in command.

The ministers and ministers-designate strode up the driveway Tuesday morning, tucked under umbrellas and behind facemasks, alongside their loved ones. An orchestra played upon their arrival, and inside the ballroom where the ceremony took place, one-by-one the new cabinet were greeted by Trudeau and Gov. Gen. Mary May Simon as they read their oaths of office.

Trudeau will speak with reporters following the ceremony, and he’s expected to be asked how this new front bench will reflect the government’s priorities in the 44th Parliament.

He has already indicated that COVID-19’s economic and health impacts will remain agenda item No. 1. Indigenous relations, climate change, and child care were also key Liberal focuses during the 2021 federal election campaign.

The new Parliament will kick off on Nov. 22, with a speech from the throne.

Here’s the full new roster of cabinet ministers:

  • Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance Chrystia Freeland
  • Minister of Transport Omar Alghabra
  • Minister of National Defence Anita Anand
  • Minister of Mental Health and Addictions and Associate Minister of Health Carolyn Bennett
  • Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food Marie-Claude Bibeau
  • President of Queen’s Privy Council for Canada and Minister of Emergency Preparedness Bill Blair
  • Minister of Tourism and Associate Minister of Finance Randy Boissonnault
  • Minister of Innovation, Science and Industry Francois-Phillipe Champagne
  • Minister of Health Jean-Yves Duclos
  • President, Treasury Board Mona Fortier
  • Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Sean Fraser
  • Minister of Families, Children and Social Development Karina Gould
  • Minister of Environment and Climate Change Steven Guilbeault
  • Minister of Indigenous Services and Minister responsible for the Federal Economic Development Agency for Northern Ontario Patty Hajdu
  • Leader of the Government in the House of Commons Mark Holland
  • Minister of Housing and Diversity and Inclusion Ahmed Hussen
  • Minister of Rural Economic Development Gudie Hutchings
  • Minister of Women, Gender Equality and Youth Marci Ien
  • Minister responsible for the Federal Economic Development Agency for Southern Ontario Helena Jaczek
  • Minister of Foreign Affairs Mélanie Joly
  • Minister of Seniors Kamal Khera
  • Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada David Lametti
  • Minister of intergovernmental Affairs, Infrastructure and Communities Dominic Leblanc
  • Minister of National Revenue Diane Lebouthillier
  • Minister of Veterans Affairs and Associate Minister of National Defence Lawrence MacAulay
  • Minister of Public Safety Marco Mendicino
  • Minister of Crown-Indigenous Relations Marc Miller
  • Minister of Fisheries, Oceans and the Canadian Coast Guard Joyce Murray
  • Minister of International Trade, Export Promotion, Small Business and Economic Development Mary Ng
  • Minister of Labour Seamus O’Regan Jr.
  • Minister of Official Languages and Minister responsible for the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency Ginette Petitpas Taylor
  • Minister of Employment, Workforce Development and Disability Inclusion Carla Qualtrough
  • Minister of Canadian Heritage and Quebec Lieutenant Pablo Rodriguez
  • Minister of International Development and Minister responsible for the Pacific Economic Development Agency of Canada Harjit Sajjan
  • Minister of Sport and Minister responsible for the Economic Development Agency of Canada for the Regions of Quebec Pascale St-Onge
  • Minister of Public Services and Procurement Filomena Tassi
  • Minister of Northern Affairs, Minister responsible for the Canadian Northern Economic Development Agency Dan Vandal
  • Minister of Natural Resources Jonathan Wilkinson


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