Shuffling the political deck

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau shuffled his cabinet, an event that typically creates a strong reaction among parliamentary media, political watchers and pundits along with other elected officials. 

Cabinet shuffles are intended to send a message and are not uncommon when a government is one year from an election and is looking to shore up geographical regions or portfolio areas where the government believes it could be vulnerable.

The new cabinet has grown from 30 ministers to 35 with five new ministers coming on board and a few existing ministers changing portfolios.

The key is to look at some of the new ministers to get an idea on the message the prime minister is sending.

One new minister is former Toronto police chief Bill Blair, who will become the minister of Border Security and Organized Crime Reduction.

This seems a clear message that Mr. Trudeau has heard the concerns of many Canadians, that have been voiced through the official opposition, on the need to take action to secure the border.

Normally, this responsibility is with the minister of Public Safety, however, it appears the prime minister believes that two ministers are required to address problems in this area.

Another new minister is MP Filomena Tassi, from Hamilton, who now becomes the minister for Seniors.

Previously, the Liberals had drawn criticism for eliminating the minister of Seniors position, which was a hallmark of the former Conservative government.

The announcement, at least in theory, appears to be an effort to address those concerns.

Another curious change was the shuffle of Dominic LeBlanc from Fisheries and Oceans to Inter-Governmental Affairs, Northern Affairs and Internal Trade.

Previously, Mr. Trudeau had appointed himself as the minister of Intergovernmental Affairs so, in effect, he has fired himself from this position.

A factor may be the changing provincial landscape, particularly with new premiers in Saskatchewan and Ontario who are less supportive of key Liberal issues such as the Trudeau carbon tax.

The movement of LeBlanc has created a potentially positive outcome for British Columbia as North Vancouver MP Jonathan Wilkinson becomes the minister of Fisheries, Oceans and the Canadian Coast Guard.

Mr. Wilkinson is a well-respected individual and is widely viewed as a very capable and competent member of Parliament.

I believe we all wish Mr. Wilkinson well in this challenging but very important new role.

Other changes include a three-way swap where Jim Carr has moved from Natural Resources to International Trade that has opened the door for Amarjeet Sohi to move from Infrastructure to Natural Resources.

Moving in to fill the Infrastructure vacancy is François-Philippe Champagne formerly of International Trade. 

Although there are other changes, this summarizes some of the larger departmental changes.

Front bench ministers not shuffled include Finance, Environment, Foreign Affairs, Defence, Justice, Transport and Immigration.

My question this week:

  • Did the shuffle go far are enough or was it just right in how you view the current direction of this Liberal government? 

I can be reached at [email protected] or call toll-free at 1-800-665-8711.

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About the Author

Dan Albas, Conservative member of Parliament for the riding of Central Okanagan-Similkameen-Nicola, is the shadow minister of innovation, science, economic development and internal trade, and sits on the standing committee on finance.

Before entering public life, Dan was the owner of Kick City Martial Arts, responsible for training hundreds of men, women and youth to bring out their best.

In British Columbia, Dan has been consistently one of the lowest spending MPs on office and administration related costs despite operating two offices to better serve local constituents.

Dan is consistently recognized as one of Canada’s top 10 most active members of Parliament on Twitter (@danalbas) and continues to write a weekly column published in many local newspapers and on this website.

He can be reached at [email protected] or call toll free at 1-800-665-8711.

The views expressed are strictly those of the author and not necessarily those of Castanet. Castanet does not warrant the contents.

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