Anand to Defence, Joly to Foreign Affairs: Trudeau announces major cabinet shakeup

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is kicking off his third mandate with a monumental shift in his cabinet lineup that makes significant changes to senior portfolios.

New cabinet announced ahead of Parliament's Nov. 22 return

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau embraces Minister of National Defence Anita Anand during a Cabinet swearing-in ceremony at Rideau Hall in Ottawa, on Tuesday, Oct. 26, 2021. (Justin Tang/The Canadian Press)

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is kicking off his third mandate with a monumental shift in his cabinet lineup that makes significant changes to senior portfolios.

Governor General Mary May Simon oversaw the swearing-in ceremony this morning at Rideau Hall — which saw nine new faces added to cabinet, three names dropped, some prominent shuffles and the creation of new portfolios ahead of Parliament's return next month.

The new cabinet list adds up to 39 ministers, including Trudeau — slightly larger than the last roster. 

In one of the largest shakeups, Oakville MP Anita Anand becomes only the second woman in Canadian history to take on the role of defence minister, after former prime minister Kim Campbell in the 1990s.

She inherits a tough job as the Canadian Armed Forces continues to battle a sexual misconduct crisis. Multiple high-ranking military officers have been moved out of their jobs while facing allegations.

Anand said the fact she's a woman was part of the "calculation."

"But there are other areas of expertise I will also be imparting to my role, including my expertise in governance and my knowledge of law and process," she told reporters Tuesday afternoon.

"I will say that my top priority is to make sure that everyone in the Armed Forces feels safe and protected and they have the supports that they need, when they need them, and the structures in place to ensure that justice is served."

WATCH | Anand says she's honoured to be named minister of defence

Anita Anand says she's honoured to be named minister of defense

2 years ago
Duration 2:08
Anita Anand is taking over the position Harjit Sajjan has held since 2015. She says her top priority will be to ensure that everyone in the Canadian Armed Forces feels safe and supported.

Addressing reporters earlier in the day, Trudeau said "there is a crisis within the culture in our Canadian Armed Forces."

"And the women and men who serve in the Armed Forces deserve better support, deserve a shift in the kind of governance that they have," he said.

"One of the things that people will be learning about Anita Anand in the coming months is that she is a world class expert in governance, with decades of professional experience that she will bring to bear to make sure that the Canadian Armed Forces, the leadership and the operations thereof, are worthy of the extraordinary women and men who choose to serve."

As questions about his handling of that crisis continue to swirl, Harjit Sajjan has been bumped to minister of international development and minister responsible for Pacific Economic Development Canada.

Trudeau defended keeping Sajjan in cabinet, saying the former defence minister is someone who shows leadership.

"As someone who rose through the ranks of challenging culture in our military and has consistently pushed back against the old boys network, I don't think anyone can be surprised at the kind of pushback he saw as he was trying to bring about changes over the past number of years," he said.

WATCH | Trudeau thanks Sajjan for his work as defence minister

Trudeau thanks Sajjan for his work as defence minister

2 years ago
Duration 1:25
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau publicly thanks Harjit Sajjan for the work he did as minister of defence.

Mélanie Joly received a major promotion this morning, moving up from minister of economic development and official languages to a much higher profile as foreign affairs minister. She also served as a co-chair of the Liberals' national campaign during the last election.

She served previously as minister of heritage but took a political hit in her home province of Quebec when she tried to promote the government's agreement with Netflix.

"The vision that we will have at Global Affairs is one that takes into account that very strategic work that Canada is doing across the world and it will be a mix of humility and audacity," she said.

Foreign Affairs Minister Mélanie Joly speaks during a news conference, Tuesday, Oct. 26, 2021 in Ottawa. (Adrian Wyld/The Canadian Press)

She takes over from Marc Garneau, who is no longer in cabinet, and used part of her time at the microphone thanking him for his role helping to free Michael Kovrig and Michael Spavor from detention in China for more than 1,000 days.

Canada is getting a new environment and climate change minister just days ahead of the United Nations climate change conference in Glasgow (COP26). Long-time environmental activist Steven Guilbeault is taking on the role following his previous posting as heritage minister.

The Quebec MP, who has worked with groups such as Equiterre and Greenpeace, will have a prominent role in cabinet as the Liberals attempt to slash greenhouse gas emissions by 40 to 45 per cent below 2005 levels by 2030.

In the past, the Conservatives have suggested Guilbeault's presence in the Liberal Party suggests Trudeau is hostile to the oil and gas industry. Guilbeault's appointment is expected to attract more pointed criticism from the sector.

"There is not much of a debate anymore about whether or not climate change is real," Trudeau told reporters today.

"There are some corners of the public sphere where you still see that debate, but for most Canadians and indeed most Albertans, we know that we need to look towards the future."

Guilbeault's predecessor, Jonathan Wilkinson, takes over Natural Resources. 

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, left, and Gov. Gen. Mary May Simon, right, pose with Steven Guilbeault, the new minister of Environment and Climate Change, during the cabinet swearing-in ceremony. (Adrian Wyld/The Canadian Press)

As the country still grapples with the lingering effects of the pandemic, Jean-Yves Duclos takes over the Health Ministry. He's being replaced as president of the Treasury Board by Ottawa-area MP Mona Fortier.

Patty Hajdu, who took on the Health Ministry just months before the pandemic hit, becomes minister of Indigenous services and minister responsible for the federal economic development agency for Northern Ontario.

Hajdu will work on the Liberals' reconciliation agenda with Marc Miller, who slides over to Crown-Indigenous relations. 

Their new appointments come amid renewed calls for justice for residential school survivors and for the federal government to compensate First Nations children. Ottawa has until Friday to decide whether it will appeal a decision by the Federal Court to uphold two Canadian Human Rights Tribunal orders requiring Ottawa to pay out billions of dollars to Indigenous children.

Former government house leader Pablo Rodríguez takes over as heritage minister, keeping the portfolio in the hands of a Quebec MP. Former whip Mark Holland moves into a cabinet position, taking over Rodríguez's old job.

New portfolios

A number of portfolios have been created, broken up or renamed.

After years overseeing various Indigenous files, Carolyn Bennett moves to a new position as minister of mental health and addictions and associate minister of health.

The veteran politician was recently forced to apologize publicly to Jody Wilson-Raybould after suggesting the Indigenous MP's expressions of concern about residential schools and Indigenous rights were actually a ploy to secure a generous MP's pension. Wilson-Raybould described the message as "racist & misogynist."

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 used to be housed under Public Safety.

Marco Mendicino takes over a slimmer Public Safety Department.

Dominic LeBlanc stays on as minister of intergovernmental affairs but also takes on the infrastructure and communities files.

Trudeau made other changes to his team today:

  • Ahmed Hussen becomes minister of housing and diversity and inclusion.
  • Karina Gould becomes minister of families, children and social development.
  • Joyce Murray becomes the new minister of fisheries, oceans and the Canadian coast guard.
  • Mary Ng becomes minister of international trade, export promotion, small business and economic development.
  • Seamus O'Regan becomes minister of labour.
  • Ginette Petitpas Taylor gets a second chance in cabinet as minister of official languages and minister responsible for the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency.
  • Filomena Tassi becomes minister of public services and procurement
  • Dan Vandal stays on as minister of northern affairs but also takes on responsibility for Prairies Economic Development Canada and the Canadian Northern Economic Development Agency.

New faces

There will be some fresh faces around the cabinet table as well.

Former broadcaster and Toronto MP Marci Ien becomes the new minister for women, gender equality and youth.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, right, congratulates Marci Ien, minister for Women, Gender Equality and Youth. (Adrian Wyld/The Canadian Press)

Brampton West's Kamal Khera has been named minister of seniors; the previous minister, Deb Schulte, was defeated in September's election.

Pascale St-Onge, elected in Brome—Missisquoi, has been appointed minister of sport and minister responsible for Canada Economic Development for Quebec Regions. She previously worked as a union leader in Quebec's cultural sector.

Alberta will get a seat at the table — Edmonton Centre MP Randy Boissonnault is the new minister of tourism and associate minister of finance. He was first elected in 2015 but lost his seat in 2019, only to win it back last month by a narrow margin. He served previously as a special adviser to the prime minister on LGBTQ2 issues.

Nova Scotia MP Sean Fraser, who was first elected in 2015, finally gets a spot at the table as the new minister of immigration, refugees and citizenship.

Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Sean Fraser at a news conference in Ottawa, on Tuesday, Oct. 26, 2021. He insists the federal government can live up to its obligations to both Ukrainians and Afghans trying to move here. (Justin Tang/The Canadian Press)

Newfoundland and Labrador's Gudie Hutchings moves in as minister of rural economic development.

Helena Jaczek, a former Ontario MPP and provincial health minister, becomes the minister responsible for the Federal Economic Development Agency for Southern Ontario.

Returning ministers 

A few ministers are keeping their old jobs. Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance Chrystia Freeland has agreed to remain in both roles and David Lametti stays as attorney general and minister of justice.

Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland and family members arrive for the cabinet swearing-in ceremony at Rideau Hall in Ottawa, Tuesday, Oct.26, 2021. (Adrian Wyld/Canadian Press)

Transport Minister Omar Alghabra keeps his job, Marie Claude Bibeau remains at Agriculture and Agri-food, Dianne Lebouthillier stays at National Revenue and Lawrence MacAulay keeps Veterans Affairs.

Carla Qualtrough also remains minister of employment, workforce development and disability inclusion.

Francois Philippe Champagne stays on as minister of innovation, science and industry.

Along with Garneau, Waterloo MP Bardish Chagger and Winnipeg Jim Carr were dropped from cabinet.

"It has been an honour and a privilege to serve my country," Garneau tweeted.

Trudeau said that building a cabinet involves making difficult choices.

"Bringing forward people who've served, giving new challenges to folks who haven't and looking at the right balance of regional, diversity, experiences to deliver," he said.

 "What I have right now [is] an extraordinary team that is reinvigorated, that is ready to step up and fight for the big things for Canadians ... a team I'm very, very much looking forward to working with."

When asked about rumours that Garneau will be given an ambassador role, Trudeau said "this cabinet is the news of the day."

O'Toole criticizes PM's picks

Conservative Leader Erin O'Toole was quick to criticize the new cabinet lineup, saying it's filled with "largely inexperienced and ideologically driven individuals."

"With inflation at a near 20-year high, causing gasoline, grocery and housing prices to skyrocket, and businesses suffering from major supply chain interruptions, it is clear from today's appointments that the Trudeau government is not serious about addressing Canada's economic challenges," he said in a media statement.

WATCH | Singh reacts to appointment of Canada's new defence minister

Singh reacts to appointment of Canada's new defence minister

2 years ago
Duration 2:08
NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh is asked what he expects from newly appointed Defence Minister Anita Anand.

"Today's changes to cabinet represent just another example of the prime minister continuing to reward ministers who have consistently demonstrated incompetence and a lack of accountability."

NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh said he expects Anand to usher in "immediate change in the culture of the Canadian Armed Forces" and to implement recommendations from the 2015 Deschamps review into sexual misconduct in the forces.

He also urged the two ministers in charge of Indigenous files to not appeal the Federal Court decision and to concentrate on ending boil water advisories on reserves.


Catharine Tunney is a reporter with CBC's Parliament Hill bureau, where she covers national security and the RCMP. She worked previously for CBC in Nova Scotia. You can reach her at catharine.tunney@cbc.ca

With files from David Cochrane and Nick Boisvert

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