Prime Minister Justin Trudeau will meet with his new cabinet for the first time this afternoon.
The team of ministers unveiled yesterday was largely the same group of people who surrounded Mr. Trudeau the day before.
But most of the roles switched around, and where ministers were moved says much about the Liberal government’s priorities.
Chrystia Freeland’s move from dealing with foreign countries to dealing with Canadian provinces is seen as a sign that the Liberals are now prioritizing the ties within the federation. (Though Ms. Freeland will keep up the Canada-U.S. relations portfolio.) Jonathan Wilkinson, a former clean-tech executive, taking on environment is seen as trying to make the portfolio more business-friendly. Indigenous groups are welcoming the appointments of Marc Miller, Carolyn Bennett and Dan Vandal to Indigenous and northern-affairs portfolios. And making François-Philippe Champagne and Mary Ng the leads on foreign affairs and trade, respectively, is seen as an attempt to thaw icy Canada-China relations.
You can read the full list of cabinet ministers, as well as comparisons to past cabinets, here.
And, if you’re looking for warm fuzzies, Maclean’s timed how long Mr. Trudeau hugged each cabinet minister during the swearing-in. The longest hug went to his long-time friend Dominic LeBlanc. Though it is worth noting that the longest hug in 2015 was with Kirsty Duncan – who was one of the few people dropped from cabinet yesterday.
COMMENTARY ON THE CABINET:
Campbell Clark on the pivot inward: “The 2019 Liberal cabinet marked the retrenchment of Justin Trudeau‘s agenda. Expansive global rhetoric has made way for domestic preoccupations, and the time of activism is being displaced by concerns that hit close to home.”
Kelly Cryderman on what it means for the Prairies: “Alberta and Saskatchewan now know the cabinet personalities they will be dealing with in the near term. But there’s still a long road ahead for any trust to be regained, on both sides.”
Adam Radwanski on what it means for the environment: “In many ways, people in Calgary and in Ottawa are speaking different languages. That applies in many regards, but it’s especially pronounced when it comes to use of the word ‘transition.’ When invoked by people who are a part of the oil and gas sector, it doesn’t mean transitioning from fossil fuels – it means transitioning the existing industry, to apply cleaner technologies to extraction processes so it’s more competitive against other oil and gas producers that have lower emissions.”
Lori Turnbull on Deputy Prime Minister Chrystia Freeland: “[Mr. Trudeau] needs her to succeed. If she does, her CV truly is beyond reproach. She will be the minister who negotiated a new free-trade agreement with U.S. President Donald Trump and national unity with Premier Jason Kenney. And who could top that?”
David Parkinson on Finance Minister Bill Morneau: “The elephant in the room is Canada’s antique, increasingly obsolete tax code; unless Mr. Morneau is willing to pursue a complete overhaul, his economic legacy will be one of a lost opportunity to reverse Canada’s competitive slide.”
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TODAY’S OTHER HEADLINES
Attorney-General David Lametti has evoked a power granted to those in his position after the 9/11 attacks that has never been used: overruling a judge on the release of national-security secrets. Mr. Lametti made the decision concerning documents that had come to light in a case involving a man who had allegedly tried to sell government information to China.
Israel criticized Canada for voting for a pro-Palestinian motion at the United Nations General Assembly, after years of voting against it. “We think the resolution is not a substantive resolution, but an attempt to delegitimize Israel and is part of the whole package that should be rejected out of hand," said Nimrod Barkan, Israel’s ambassador to Canada.
And U.S. President Donald Trump, who has been fighting in court to not release his tax returns as previous presidents have, says he will release a statement on his finances before the 2020 election. The statement will show “that I am much richer than people even thought," he said in a tweet.
Melissa Lantsman and Jamie Ellerton (The Globe and Mail) on the Conservative Party and LGBTQ Canadians: “The fundamental problem is the Conservative Party’s lack of clarity on LGBTQ rights. Canadians expect their political leaders to share their values. Full stop. Yet the Conservative Party appears incapable of even offering table-stakes pleasantries to LGBTQ Canadians, while other cultural groups – be they religious, national or ethnic – command that respect without question.”
John Ibbitson (The Globe and Mail) on the urban-rural divide: “We need policies at every level to encourage immigrants to move to small cities and rural areas. It’s true that such attempts, including programs to encourage entrepreneurial immigrants, are open to abuse. But at the least, governments should be emphasizing to immigrant Canadians that there are job opportunities and lower living costs in smaller communities.”
Chris Varcoe (Calgary Herald) on the ongoing rail strike: “It also kicks the oilpatch and province firmly in the shins, threatening to interrupt crude-by-rail shipments at a critical time when pipelines are already full, rail shipments are climbing, storage levels are growing and the transportation system has little slack.”
Murray Mandryk (Saskatoon StarPhoenix) on Prairie angst: “The problem with [Alberta Premier Jason] Kenney’s ‘new fair deal’ is it doesn’t increase oil prices, and it only adds to Alberta’s existing problem — overspending. (This would seem especially so for a provincial police force that Alberta last had in 1932 during the Great Depression, when it was disbanded as a cost-saving measure).”