Politics

Trudeau expected to add some new faces when he announces post-election cabinet as early as Oct. 25

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau will unveil his new post-election cabinet on either Oct. 25 or 26, multiple government sources tell CBC News. Trudeau is expected to add several new faces — while some veteran ministers could be leaving cabinet altogether.

Some cabinet veterans might be moving. Could Harjit Sajjan be one of them?

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau's new cabinet is expected to include some new faces. (Sean Kilpatrick/The Canadian Press)

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau will unveil his new post-election cabinet on Oct. 25 or 26, multiple government sources tell CBC News.

Trudeau is expected to add several new faces — while some veteran ministers could be leaving cabinet altogether.

Sources also tell CBC News that Bob Rae, Canada's ambassador to the United Nations, has been advising the prime minister through the transition period.

The most likely date for the shuffle is Oct. 25, the sources said, but the final date will be announced officially on Friday. The government could announce a date for the return of Parliament at the same time.

The timing places the cabinet swearing-in ceremony between Gov. Gen. Mary May Simon's return from her first international trip and Trudeau's departure for a pair of international summits in Italy and Scotland.

Trudeau's commitment to a gender-balanced cabinet, coupled with his need for new cabinet ministers from Nova Scotia and Alberta, will likely require significant changes to the government's front bench.

The biggest change could come in the defence ministry. Many senior Liberals suggest that Harjit Sajjan will be shuffled to a new portfolio.

Pressure has been building on Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to dump Harjit Sajjan and replace him with a female minister of defence. (Sean Kilpatrick/The Canadian Press)

Government insiders say it's clear that new leadership is needed to deal with ongoing sexual misconduct problems in the military and suggest it may be time for a woman to take control at the Department of National Defence. 

The names mentioned most often as possible replacements for Sajjan at defence are Procurement Minister Anita Anand and Employment Minister Carla Qualtrough.

Sources say they expect to see Trudeau lean on his most experienced people as he builds the new cabinet. After the 2019 election, only two new MPs — Anand and Steven Guilbeault — were promoted directly to cabinet. 

The rookie MPs most commonly mentioned as cabinet prospects this time are Pascale St. Onge — who won Brome-Missisquoi in Quebec's Eastern Townships — and George Chahal in Calgary-Skyview.

Chahal's shot at a cabinet spot could be in trouble, now that he's being investigated by the Office of the Commissioner of Canada Elections for allegedly tampering with his opponent's election pamphlets.

He also faces competition for Alberta's seat at the cabinet table from returning MP Randy Boissonnault in Edmonton Centre.

But sources say Trudeau will be looking for experienced people as he again faces the uncertainty of leading a minority government.

That opens the door for Ontario MPs such as Yasir Naqvi, Helena Jaczek and Marie-France Lalonde, all of whom have held provincial cabinet posts. Lena Metlege Diab in Halifax West is another new MP with experience in a provincial cabinet.

Helena Jaczek, a former Ontario MPP and provincial health minister, is considered a cabinet prospect. (Michael Wilson/CBC)

Government insiders also point to Central Nova MP Sean Fraser as a high-performing MP worthy of promotion. And with the retirement of Navdeep Bains, there is an opening for another minister from the Peel region in Ontario; sources point to Brampton MPs Ruby Sahota and Kamal Khera as possible replacements.

It isn't clear yet if there will be a broader reconstruction of cabinet portfolios or any new departments. One idea under consideration is the creation of a housing ministry to help the Liberals deliver on the housing promises in their election platform.

Clarifications

  • This story has been updated from a previous version that said the cabinet swearing-in date was to be Oct. 25. Sources later clarified the date could move to the 26th, which in fact is the confirmed date for the swearing-in.
    Oct 14, 2021 4:31 PM ET

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

David Cochrane is a senior reporter in CBC's Parliamentary bureau. He previously wrote for CBC Newfoundland and Labrador.

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