Justin Trudeau’s New Cabinet Brings Experience to Environment Portfolio; Indigenous File Gets Shake Up at Crucial Moment

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau on Tuesday carried out a major cabinet shuffle, addressing needs in both the environment and Indigenous file. Photo: Sean Kilpatrick/The Canadian Press

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau on Tuesday carried out a major cabinet shuffle, putting long-time green activist Steven Guilbeault into the environment portfolio and appointing new ministers of defense and foreign affairs.

Trudeau, who took power in 2015, won a third term last month but had to act after he lost three ministers and another quit before the election. Fewer than 10 of the 38 ministers kept their existing positions.

His Liberals hold 159 seats in parliament but do not have the 170 needed to pass legislation without the support of an opposition party. Minority governments do not usually last a full four-year term in Canada.

Trudeau has said addressing climate change is a major priority. His government already has imposed a carbon tax and has said it will curb harmful emissions in the energy sector.

Guilbeault worked for green groups for more than 20 years before entering parliament in 2019. He became Heritage Minister, but was widely criticized for proposing broadcast legislation that critics said would harm freedom of speech.

He replaces Jonathan Wilkinson, who moves to the natural resources portfolio. Melanie Joly becomes Canada’s fifth foreign minister under Trudeau and Anita Anand takes over at defense.

(Additional reporting by David Ljunggren, Editing by Peter Cooney, Will Dunham and Timothy Heritage)


New Indigenous Services Minister


Patty Hajdu, who took charge of the health file just months before the pandemic, takes on a new challenge as minister of Indigenous Services, where she’ll head up the Liberals’ reconciliation agenda with Marc Miller, who was moved to Crown-Indigenous Relations.

The pair take on the file as Canada’s Indigenous communities call for the Canadian government to compensate residential school survivors and First Nations children. Before Friday, the Canadian government will decide whether it will appeal a decision by the Federal Court to uphold two Canadian Human Rights Tribunal orders that would see them pay billions of dollars to Indigenous children.


Who’s Out, Who’s In and What’s New


Today’s shuffle saw some ministers lose their position in cabinet altogether while some fresh faces were added.

Marc Garneau was shuffled out of his position in cabinet as Foreign Affairs Minister in favour of Melanie Joly, who moves to the higher profile position from minister of Economic Development and Official Languages.

Also dropping out of cabinet are Bardish Chagger, who was Diversity and Inclusion Minister, and Jim Carr, who had served as Trudeau’s special representative for the Prairies after he was diagnosed with blood cancer in 2019. The Winnipeg MP, who has since recovered, previously served as the minister overseeing energy and non-U.S. trade.

New faces around the cabinet table will include Toronto MP and former CTV broadcaster Marci Ien, Nova Scotia MP Sean Fraser, Edmonton MP Randy Boissonnault and Quebec MP and former union leader Pascale St-Onge.

A number of ministers took on new positions today, including Carolyne Bennett, who begins a newly created file as minister of Mental Health and Addiction while taking on duties as associate minister of health.

During her tenure as minister of Crown-Indigenous Affairs, the veteran politician suggested Indigenous MP Jody Wilson-Raybould’s concern over residential schools and Indigenous rights was motivated by her hopes for an MP pension. She later apologized for the comment, which Wilson-Raybould called “racist & misogynist.”

Meanwhile, former Public Safety Minister Bill Blair becomes president of the Queen’s Privy Council and takes on a new role as minister of Emergency Preparedness, a file that previously fell under public safety.

Only seven ministers managed to hold onto their previous roles, including Minister of Seniors Kamal Khera.


Scroll down to see the rest of Trudeau’s new cabinet


Chrystia Freeland, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance

Omar Alghabra, minister of Transport

Marie-Claude Bibeau, minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food

Randy Boissonnault, minister of tourism and associate minister of finance

Francois-Philippe Champagne, minister of Innovation, Science and Commerce

Jean-Yves Duclos, minister of Health

Mona Fortier, president of the Treasury Board

Sean Fraser, minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship

Karina Gould, minister of Families, Children and Social Development

Patty Hajdu, minister of Indigenous Services and minister responsible for the Federal Economic Development Agency for Northern Ontario

Mark Holland, government House leader

Ahmed Hussen, minister of Housing and Diversity and Inclusion

Gudie Hutchings, minister of Rural Economic Development

Marci Ien, minister for Women, Gender Equality and Youth

Helena Jaczek, minister responsible for the Federal Economic Development Agency for Southern Ontario

Melanie Joly, minister of Foreign Affairs

David Lametti, minister of Justice and attorney general of Canada

Dominic LeBlanc, minister of Intergovernmental Affairs, Infrastructure and Communities

Diane Lebouthillier, minister of National Revenue

Lawrence MacAulay, minister of Veterans Affairs and associate minister of National Defence

Marco Mendicino, minister of Public Safety

Joyce Murray, minister of Fisheries, Oceans and the Canadian Coast Guard

Mary Ng, minister of International Trade, Export Promotion, Small Business and Economic Development

Seamus O’Regan, minister of Labour

Ginette Petitpas Taylor, minister of Official Languages and minister responsible for the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency

Carla Qualtrough, minister of Employment, Workforce Development and Disability Inclusion

Pablo Rodriguez, minister of Canadian Heritage

Harjit Sajjan, minister of International Development and minister responsible for the Pacific Economic Development Agency of Canada

Pascale St-Onge, minister of Sport and minister responsible for the Economic Development Agency of Canada for the Regions of Quebec

Filomena Tassi, minister of Public Services and Procurement

Dan Vandal, minister of Northern Affairs, minister responsible for Prairies Economic Development Canada, and minister responsible for the Canadian Northern Economic Development Agency