Trudeau names new parliamentary secretaries, promoting 9 Liberal backbenchers

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has promoted nine first-term backbenchers in appointing a new roster of parliamentary secretaries.

Prime minister appoints 35 Liberals to assist cabinet ministers

Retired Lieutenant-General Andrew Leslie is the new parliamentary secretary to the minister of foreign affairs. (Chris Wattie/Reuters)

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has promoted nine first-term backbenchers in appointing a new roster of parliamentary secretaries.

As previously announced, Andrew Leslie, who had been the chief government whip, becomes parliamentary secretary to the minister of foreign affairs, with special responsibility for relations with the United States. 

The other newcomers, and their portfolios, include:

  • Sherry Romanado, veterans affairs.
  • Marc Miller, infrastructure and communities.
  • Jean R. Rioux, national defence.
  • Steven MacKinnon, public services and procurement.
  • Ginette Petitpas Taylor, finance.
  • Marco Mendicino, justice.
  • Joel Lightbound, health.
  • Andy Fillmore, democratic institutions.
  • Matt DeCourcey, foreign affairs.

Pablo Rodriguez, previously the parliamentary secretary to the minister of infrastructure, becomes the government's chief whip.

Filomena Tassi becomes the deputy whip.

Parliamentary secretaries are appointed to assist ministers and speak for them when ministers are not present in the House of Commons.

Each parliamentary secretary receives a bonus of $16,800 on top of their MP salary. The whip receives an extra $30,500.

The first set of parliamentary secretaries appointed by Trudeau in December 2015  had one-year terms that were set to expire on Jan. 29. Twenty-five of those Liberals will continue, 13 of them with new roles.

Adam Vaughan and Celina Caesar-Chavannes, both previously parliamentary secretaries to the prime minister, will move to social development and international development respectively. Vaughan, a former city councillor in Toronto, will have special responsibility for housing and urban affairs.

Mark Holland, who had been assisting the minister of democratic institutions, moves to public safety.

Other than Rodriguez, seven Liberal MPs who had been parliamentary secretaries were not included in the new list: Leona Alleslav, Randy Boissonnault (who was previously appointed as a special adviser to the prime minister on LGBTQ2 issues), Anju Dhillon, Emmanuel Dubourg, Greg Fergus, John McKay and Michel Picard.