The Prime Minister will unveil a larger cabinet next week in response to the regional divisions that were exposed in the recent election, in which the Liberals were shut out of Alberta, Saskatchewan and many rural and semirural areas across the country, sources say.
Justin Trudeau has decided to keep Bill Morneau at Finance, and Alberta-born Chrystia Freeland will continue to play a large role in the new cabinet, whether the Toronto MP stays at Global Affairs or moves to a domestic portfolio, said the Liberal and government sources, who have direct knowledge of the matter.
The Globe and Mail is not revealing the identities of the sources because they were not authorized to discuss the cabinetmaking process publicly.
Some of the ministers who are up for promotions or increased responsibilities are B.C.’s Jonathan Wilkinson, who grew up in Saskatchewan, and Quebeckers François-Philippe Champagne and Pablo Rodriguez.
Jim Carr of Manitoba, who is having cancer treatment, will be asked to remain as a senior western adviser, although his health could affect his ability to remain in cabinet, a source said.
Most major decisions on the cabinet have been made, and Mr. Trudeau has been meeting with current and future ministers at a location outside of his regular offices. Mr. Trudeau has said the new cabinet, which will be unveiled on Nov. 20, will include equal numbers of men and women.
The current cabinet has 34 ministers, in addition to Mr. Trudeau. The new cabinet will have slightly more, even though the Liberals won 27 fewer seats than they did in 2015, the sources said.
Mr. Trudeau’s new government will feature an increased focus on the green economy and climate change, with seven portfolios seen as key to the agenda: Finance; Global Affairs; Innovation, Science and Economic Development; Environment; Natural Resources; Intergovernmental Affairs; and Justice.
The Liberals have no representation in Alberta, Saskatchewan and Nunavut, and lost several seats in British Columbia, Manitoba, Ontario, Quebec and New Brunswick last month.
The sources said the Liberal government has been considering the appointment of a Quebec lieutenant with greater political responsibility in the province. It has also explored the idea of creating an advisory council to help with issues such as alienation in western provinces and difficulties connecting with rural voters in other parts of the country. However, an announcement on that will come after the cabinet is unveiled.
Current ministers who are expected to play key roles are Mr. Wilkinson, now the Minister of Fisheries. While he represents the B.C. riding of North Vancouver, Mr. Wilkinson grew up in Saskatchewan and worked in the provincial government. The province is at the forefront of the anger over the Trudeau government’s energy and environmental policies.
The sources said Mr. Trudeau will offer a role to climate change activist Steven Guilbeault, but the rookie Montreal MP is expected to receive an assignment that would be less politically challenging than the Environment. Mr. Guilbeault opposes the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion project, but has endorsed other elements of the Liberal government’s environmental platform.
Mr. Champagne, an international lawyer who is currently at Infrastructure, can expect greater responsibilities. He represents the rural riding of Saint-Maurice-Champlain, which former prime minister Jean Chrétien once held. In the election, the Liberals were dominant in the Montreal area, but lost ground in other parts of the province to the Bloc Québécois.
Other senior Quebec ministers will be Mr. Rodriguez, who is currently at Canadian Heritage, and Mélanie Joly, who delivered a strong performance at Tourism and La Francophonie after being shuffled out of Heritage in the summer of 2018.
Intergovernmental Affairs Minister Dominic LeBlanc, who is nearing the end of cancer treatment, will also continue to play an important role, the sources said. The New Brunswick politician and Mr. Trudeau are long-time friends and political allies.
While the cabinet is expected to include new faces, veterans will also return. For example, the sources said, former Toronto police chief Bill Blair will continue to drive the firearms file and could be appointed to Public Safety. Mr. Blair is currently Minister of Border Security and Organized Crime Reduction.
Other ministers who are expected to remain in cabinet, although potentially in different portfolios, include Transport Minister Marc Garneau, Environment Minister Catherine McKenna, Innovation Minister Navdeep Bains, Indigenous Services Minister Seamus O’Regan, and Bernadette Jordan, who is at Rural Economic Development.
The sources said Mr. Trudeau will bring new people into the PMO from regions including Quebec and the West, after criticism over the large presence of Ontarians and Queen’s Park veterans.
Once the cabinet is unveiled, Mr. Trudeau will focus on the Speech from the Throne, to be delivered on Dec. 5. The presentation will aim to highlight a desire for a collaborative approach in the minority Parliament and should not include measures that would prompt opposition parties to vote non-confidence in the government, a senior official said.