The idea of a cabinet shuffle is nothing new in Canadian politics, but to rearrange ministerial assignments just after one year in office has a peculiar aspect.
Traditionally, such a move is conducted mid-way through a Prime Minister’s term to maintain the efficiency and productivity of those appointed to oversee ministerial profiles on vital positions within the federal government. To do so just after a year raises questions of ‘why’ but thankfully, the spin doctors at the PMO and CBC have worked out the rationalization
Following a year of in-action by the Trudeau Liberals, the federal government claims it has shifted major positions preparing for the incoming (and potentially volatile) presidency of Donald Trump. With the soon-to-be Commander in Chief of the United States setting his sights on re-drafting the NAFTA agreement and the increasing aggression of Russia on the world stage, it appears the combination of those factors led to an early change in the government’s highest positions.
Here is the update to the new cabinet positions for 2017
It came as a surprise to see veteran Stephanie Dion replaced by MP Chrystia Freeland as Foreign Affairs minister. In what could be considered a snub at his service to the Liberal Party since 1993, Dion turned down alternative diplomatic positions in Germany and China to instead resign from politics all together; an interesting move to replace liberal star-power from Québec and one to possibly effect the party come next election. Quebec MP Francois-Philippe Champagne, former parliamentary secretary to Finance Minister Bill Morneau, replaces Freeland in the profile of international trade.
Dion was not the only veteran to get the boot from Trudeau’s cabinet. Long-time MP and Minister of Immigration John McCallum also decided to step down from Canadian politics to accept an ambassadorship to China to expand trade with the world’s most populous country. Rookie Toronto MP Ahmed Hussen, a Somali refugee as been assigned to the immigration portfolio vacated by McCallum.
Minister of Labour MaryAnn Mihychuck was also demoted, but not on the same extent as Dion or McCallum. Mihychuck has now been place to a back bencher position during the cabinet shuffle. Instead, the former Status of Women Minister, Patty Hajdu from Thunder Bay- Superior North was promoted to act as Mihychuck’s replacement.
On the profile of Democratic Intuitions, it was clear that Maryam Monsef was likely to be on the chopping block after botching the issue of electoral reform. With her tax-payer funded trip throughout the country to hold town-hall style events on the issue, she was yet to show any clear results on a key Liberal election promise that begs the question ‘do Canadians really want electoral reform?’ Instead, Monsef was offered an alternative to take over Patty Hajdu’s position as Status of Women Minister which hardly speaks as a demotion
To take over the duties as Minister of Democratic Institutions, the position was tasked to Karina Gould, a 29 year-old rookie MP from Burlington, Ontario. With a nearly impossible duty of reinvigorating the issues of electoral reform and reaching consensus, the young minister would do herself well to leave the decision to the Canadian electorate by holding a national referendum.