Skip to main content
The Globe and Mail
Support Quality Journalism
The Globe and Mail
First Access to Latest
Investment News
Collection of curated
e-books and guides
Inform your decisions via
Globe Investor Tools
Just$1.99
per week
for first 24 weeks

Enjoy unlimited digital access
Enjoy Unlimited Digital Access
Get full access to globeandmail.com
Just $1.99 per week for the first 24 weeks
Just $1.99 per week for the first 24 weeks
var select={root:".js-sub-pencil",control:".js-sub-pencil-control",open:"o-sub-pencil--open",closed:"o-sub-pencil--closed"},dom={},allowExpand=!0;function pencilInit(o){var e=arguments.length>1&&void 0!==arguments[1]&&arguments[1];select.root=o,dom.root=document.querySelector(select.root),dom.root&&(dom.control=document.querySelector(select.control),dom.control.addEventListener("click",onToggleClicked),setPanelState(e),window.addEventListener("scroll",onWindowScroll),dom.root.removeAttribute("hidden"))}function isPanelOpen(){return dom.root.classList.contains(select.open)}function setPanelState(o){dom.root.classList[o?"add":"remove"](select.open),dom.root.classList[o?"remove":"add"](select.closed),dom.control.setAttribute("aria-expanded",o)}function onToggleClicked(){var l=!isPanelOpen();setPanelState(l)}function onWindowScroll(){window.requestAnimationFrame(function() {var l=isPanelOpen(),n=0===(document.body.scrollTop||document.documentElement.scrollTop);n||l||!allowExpand?n&&l&&(allowExpand=!0,setPanelState(!1)):(allowExpand=!1,setPanelState(!0))});}pencilInit(".js-sub-pencil",!1); // via darwin-bg var slideIndex = 0; carousel(); function carousel() { var i; var x = document.getElementsByClassName("subs_valueprop"); for (i = 0; i < x.length; i++) { x[i].style.display = "none"; } slideIndex++; if (slideIndex> x.length) { slideIndex = 1; } x[slideIndex - 1].style.display = "block"; setTimeout(carousel, 2500); }

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau embraces Dominic LeBlanc as he's sworn in as President of the Queen's Privy Council for Canada during the swearing in of the new cabinet at Rideau Hall in Ottawa on Nov. 20, 2019.

Sean Kilpatrick/The Canadian Press

Democratic Institutions may be gone as a separate ministry in Justin Trudeau’s cabinet but the issues it dealt with have not been forgotten.

They’ll be handled by Dominic LeBlanc, who sits in cabinet as president of the Queen’s Privy Council for Canada.

That’s just one of the details about the prime minister’s new cabinet that are starting to become clear after Wednesday’s swearing-in ceremony, which left onlookers wondering what exactly some ministers will be doing.

Story continues below advertisement

More details will emerge when Trudeau eventually releases the mandate letters he’s written to each of his 36 ministers. But some additional information about the structure of cabinet and the roles of various ministers is already starting to dribble out.

For instance, it’s now clear that the prime minister has bowed to pressure to ensure closer political involvement in the operation of regional development agencies — although not quite in the way many Liberals had hoped.

Traditionally, various regional ministers have been assigned responsibility for each of the six agencies across the country. But during his first mandate, Trudeau abandoned that approach and consolidated responsibility for them all under one minister, Innovation Minister Navdeep Bains.

That led to considerable controversy and snide jokes about having a minister from Toronto responsible for the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency or Western Economic Diversification Canada. Many Liberals had hoped Trudeau would revert to having each agency overseen by a separate, regionally-appropriate minister.

But on Wednesday, Trudeau stuck with having a single minister responsible for all six agencies, although he changed the minister in charge to Montrealer Melanie Joly, who was named economic development minister.

On Thursday, however, Joly revealed that’s not the end of the story. Trudeau will appoint six parliamentary secretaries, a Liberal MP from each region for each agency, to work with her.

“We need to be more connected to our regions, specifically in Quebec and across the country, and I’m really happy to be in charge of Economic Development, including the regional economic development agencies,” she said on her way into the first meeting of the new cabinet.

Story continues below advertisement

“I’ll be having six parliamentary secretaries because we need to tell Quebecers and Canadians that we’ve got their back.”

Parliamentary secretaries receive an additional $17,500 on top of an MP’s annual $178,900 salary.

LeBlanc’s role in cabinet was one of the murkiest since no one was clear what president of the Queen’s Privy Council of Canada meant. And, since he recently underwent stem cell treatment after rounds of chemotherapy for cancer, it was widely assumed that the position was a way to hold a place for LeBlanc at the cabinet table until his health recovers sufficiently to give him greater responsibilities.

Turns out, he’ll be plenty busy as it is, according to government officials.

He will be chairman of the new cabinet operations committee, which officials describe as “the nerve centre” for ensuring the government’s priorities stay on track in the new minority environment, where every initiative will require the support of at least one opposition party to pass.

He will also be responsible for “supporting our public institutions,” including engagement with the more independent, less-partisan Senate, which may be more inclined to flex its muscles now that the Liberals hold only a minority of seats in the House of Commons.

Story continues below advertisement

And he’ll be in charge of all the files that used to occupy the minister of democratic institutions.

Those include determining whether to follow through on Trudeau’s threat to regulate social media giants if they don’t voluntarily take sufficient action to stem the tide of disinformation and hate intended to influence election outcomes and undermine public trust in the democratic process.

If the government does follow through, LeBlanc will be in charge of determining how best to go about that, while minimizing the risk of censorship.

His files will also include a review of how the most recent reforms to elections law worked out during the fall campaign and determining what more may need to be done to combat disinformation and cyberthreats and to maintain a level playing field.

Among other things, there has been criticism that the reforms did little to stop the operation of so-called third parties or advocacy groups from spending gobs of money from undisclosed sources to shill for one political party and smear others, often by peddling false information.

Our Morning Update and Evening Update newsletters are written by Globe editors, giving you a concise summary of the day’s most important headlines. Sign up today.

Report an error
Due to technical reasons, we have temporarily removed commenting from our articles. We hope to have this fixed soon. Thank you for your patience. If you are looking to give feedback on our new site, please send it along to feedback@globeandmail.com. If you want to write a letter to the editor, please forward to letters@globeandmail.com.

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to letters@globeandmail.com. Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to letters@globeandmail.com. Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff.

We aim to create a safe and valuable space for discussion and debate. That means:

  • Treat others as you wish to be treated
  • Criticize ideas, not people
  • Stay on topic
  • Avoid the use of toxic and offensive language
  • Flag bad behaviour

Comments that violate our community guidelines will be removed.

Read our community guidelines here

Discussion loading ...

To view this site properly, enable cookies in your browser. Read our privacy policy to learn more.
How to enable cookies