Justin Trudeau taps Dominic LeBlanc as Government House Leader
Beausejour MP was first elected in 2000 and has been a long-time friend of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau tapped his childhood friend and Beausejour MP Dominic LeBlanc to be his Government House Leader.
LeBlanc was one of several Liberals, who flanked Trudeau as he walked to Rideau Hall on Wednesday morning prior to the swearing-in ceremony.
Once inside Rideau Hall — the official residence of Canada's governor general and a place LeBlanc once called home with his father, Romeo — LeBlanc, ascended to Trudeau's inner circle.
LeBlanc's appointment as Government House Leader means he will be in charge of stickhandling the Liberal agenda through the House of Commons.
"While it is not the big shiny portfolio, LeBlanc could still become a significant player within cabinet because the House leader … is responsible for getting the legislative agenda through," he said.
The political scientist said LeBlanc's close relationship with the new prime minister may have also played a role in his position.
"If you have that close personal connection going back then you are trusting them with almost fulfilling the promises that your party laid out during the campaign," Lewis said.
"The House leader, if Trudeau decides to make LeBlanc very active, will be working with the [Prime Minister's Office] on a daily basis getting stuff through."
'Great for Atlantic Canada'
Premier Brian Gallant told reporters in Fredericton on Wednesday that managing the government's daily operations in the House will give the New Brunswick MP a lot of clout.
"To have Dominic LeBlanc be the House leader, I think is going to be very beneficial to the country, and I think it's going to be great for Atlantic Canada," he said.
"This is going to be the person sitting right next to the prime minister."
When measuring LeBlanc's power inside the Liberal government, UNB's Lewis also said it will be important to look at what cabinet committees that the New Brunswick MP sits on.
Trudeau has named LeBlanc as one of the 10 cabinet ministers on the cabinet committee on agenda and results.
If LeBlanc does hold sway inside the Trudeau government, Opposition Leader Bruce Fitch said he better deliver on New Brunswick priorities.
LeBlanc was never able to squeeze into cabinet during the tenures of former prime ministers Jean Chretien or Paul Martin.
LeBlanc was the parliamentary secretary to the minister of national defence in 2003 and was later named parliamentary secretary to the government house leader and deputy chief to the government whip.
While he remained on the outside of cabinet, his stock within the party continued to grow while the Liberals were in opposition.
LeBlanc briefly considered a leadership bid before bowing out to support Michael Ignatieff in 2008. He held senior critic roles while the Liberals were in Opposition.