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Mélanie Joly is Canada’s new Foreign Affairs Minister, and Anita Anand has taken command of Defence, replacing Harjit Sajjan, who has faced tough questions about his handling of sexual harassment allegations in the military – all part of a major federal cabinet shuffle announced today.

Also, environmental activist Steven Guilbeault, who had been heritage minister, is now Minister of Environment and Climate Change. The Montreal MP had been actively interested in government green files, as reported here.

Ms. Joly replaces Marc Garneau, who was shuffled out of cabinet along with Bardish Chagger, who was the minister of diversity, inclusion and youth, and Jim Carr, the former special representative for the Prairies. There’s a report here on the challenges Ms. Joly previously faced in cabinet dynamics.

Ms. Anand previously held the procurement portfolio, managing the acquisition of COVID-19 vaccines. In February, chief political reporter Campbell Clark reported here on the academic’s path in politics.

The new cabinet will consist of 38 ministers, as well as Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, and has an equal number of women and men – in line with Mr. Trudeau’s commitment to a gender balance in cabinet.

There’s a full cabinet list here, released by the Prime Minister’s Office.

Members of the Ottawa bureau report here on the cabinet shuffle.

In a tweet, Mr. Garneau spoke to his exit from cabinet: “It has been an honour and a privilege to serve my country in the roles of Minister of Transport and Minister of Foreign Affairs. I wish to thank my caucus and cabinet colleagues, as well as the many public servants & staff who have made my work possible over these past six years.”

He also thanked his family and constituents in Notre-Dame-de-Grâce-Westmount for their support.

Mr. Trudeau did not directly take questions after the swearing-in ceremony at Rideau Hall. He is to hold a news conference today at 3 p.m. ET. Please watch The Globe and Mail for details.

This is the daily Politics Briefing newsletter, written by Ian Bailey. It is available exclusively to our digital subscribers. If you’re reading this on the web, subscribers can sign up for the Politics newsletter and more than 20 others on our newsletter signup page. Have any feedback? Let us know what you think.


RESULTS IN ON ALBERTA EQUALIZATION REFERENDUM – The final results from Alberta’s equalization referendum show almost 62 per cent of voters want to see the principle of equalization removed from the Constitution. Story here.

CPC MP DEFENDS VACCINE PRIVACY – Leslyn Lewis, an MP who gained a prominent political profile as a contender in last year’s federal Conservative leadership race, is using social media to defend the rights of those who do not declare their vaccination status.

CHRÉTIEN CRITICIZED – Indigenous leaders and advocates are criticizing Jean Chrétien after the former prime minister said that, during his time as minister of Indian affairs, he was not aware of abuses that took place at residential schools. Story here.

AFGHAN POLICY ALTERED – The Canadian government has quietly changed the criteria on its website for a special program for vulnerable Afghan refugees so that only those who have already managed to escape to other countries are eligible.

PROTEST ALERT ISSUED FOR B.C. GOVERNMENT OFFICES – The B.C. government security office is warning about a mounting threat of disruptive protests at government offices and the legislature over pipelines, logging and other resource development controversies. A recent information bulletin also raises the possibility of a spillover effect from police enforcement of court orders and injunctions. From The Vancouver Sun. Story here.

MULRONEY CALLS FOR “FRESH” GOVERNMENT THINKING – In a speech that may be aimed at both Liberals and Conservatives, former prime minister Brian Mulroney says Canada must show “fresh thinking and daring leadership” – a comment on the uninspiring election campaign. From the National Post. Story here.

NEW B.C. CLIMATE-CHANGE PLAN – B.C. Premier John Horgan has released his government’s latest plan to meet its commitment to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 2030, even as new data shows pollution levels steadily rising since the climate action target was set 14 years ago.


The Prime Minister attended the swearing-in of the new cabinet and was scheduled to hold a mid-afternoon news conference.


NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh, in Ottawa, holds a news conference to respond to the federal cabinet shuffle.

No schedules released for other party leaders.


John Ibbitson (The Globe and Mail) on why it’s a travesty that Canada has had five foreign affairs ministers in six years: “But though true government-by-cabinet is unlikely ever to return, one department other than Finance needs a truly powerful minister, able to reform the department itself, chart a course on policy and convince the prime minister to accept that course. That department is Foreign Affairs. The Western consensus is failing. The Donald Trump wing of the Republican Party threatens American democracy. China grows more belligerent, while Russia makes more mischief. Hungary and Poland challenge the European Union’s feeble efforts to punish their retreat from democracy. Freedom has been in decline around the world for 15 straight years, according to Freedom House, an NGO that monitors democratic governments around the world. And even as countries make fresh commitments to reduce carbon emissions in advance of COP26 in Glasgow, emissions continue to increase.”

Gary Mason (The Globe and Mail) on the fight for the soul of the Conservative Party of Canada: “Already playing out, I would argue, is a fight for the soul of the Conservative Party of Canada, a fight that, broadly speaking, pits party supporters west of Ontario who believe the CPC should reflect a stricter sense of conservative values and principles (the old Reform Party wing) against those who support the leader’s wish to put the word “progressive” back in the conservative brand and become relevant in growing urban areas in Ontario, Quebec and British Columbia. It is a battle between those who see the influence they once had in the party under Stephen Harper being corroded, and a new generation of conservatives who believe strongly that the party needs to be less white, less old, more urban, more female and generally one that better reflects the cultural demographics of the country. It is a battle that could become a war that could, I believe, lead to an implosion of the tenuous coalition that was fused 18 years ago, when the Canadian Alliance (the successor to Reform) merged with the Progressive Conservatives.”

Don Braid (The Calgary Herald) on the lonely life Calgary city councillor Sean Chu is going to face at city hall: “Chu wasn’t condemned at the ceremony. Neither did he offer defence or defiance. This was a searing public rebuke. I’m not aware of another Alberta swearing-in where an elected official, while legally accepted because there’s no alternative, took such a stinging public insult from the political leader. Chu is going to lead a lonely political life at city hall. He was disciplined in 2003 as a police officer for earlier sexual contact with a 16-year-old girl, claiming he thought she was older. When this came out, very late in the election campaign, he still won Ward 4 by a hair. His support from advanced polls plunged after the stories appeared. Gondek would very much like to fire him now. So would most other councillors. They don’t want this symbol in front of them for the next four years.”

Kathryn May (Policy Options) on what comes next after the pandemic upended the federal workplace: “The pandemic blew up the norms and structure of work behaviour in Canada’s public service and now bureaucrats want new rules and a say in how work fits into their lives as the federal government readies for a return to the office. Everything about working in the public service is up for grabs. After nearly two years, the pandemic proved public servants can work in many jobs from anywhere. That’s upended the conventional approach to work, including the 37.5-hour work week, endless in-person meetings, a soulless cubicle culture and how to climb the hierarchy. It’s an opportunity for change reformers have dreamed about for 25 years.”

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