Champagne to foreign affairs, Wilkinson to environment as Trudeau prepares to shuffle cabinet
Newfoundland's Seamus O'Regan to move from Indigenous services to natural resources
François-Philippe Champagne will be Canada's new foreign affairs minister when Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announces his new cabinet tomorrow, CBC-Radio-Canada has learned.
Champagne, who served as the minister of infrastructure and communities in the last Parliament, will replace Chrystia Freeland as Canada's top diplomat, tasked with stickhandling the sensitive U.S. and China files.
It's not yet known where Freeland will be moved, but she is expected to preside over a crucial domestic role as regional tensions rise across the country.
Champagne, a former trade lawyer, has served as minister of international trade in the past.
Seamus O'Regan is expected to move from Indigenous services to natural resources. As an MP from Newfoundland and Labrador, O'Regan represents an oil-producing province.
The cabinet swearing-in ceremony will take place at Rideau Hall beginning at 1:30 p.m. ET Wednesday. CBCNews.ca and CBC News Network will have special coverage beginning at noon ET.
Radio-Canada is also reporting that Jonathan Wilkinson will be the new environment minister.
David Lametti is expected to stay on as Justice minister.
Pablo Rodriguez will be the government house leader, in charge of working with opposition parties and keeping the parliamentary agenda on track. It's a position that takes on heightened importance in a minority government.
Steven Guilbeault, a high-profile Quebec environmental activist, will be the new heritage minister, according to sources with knowledge of the appointments who spoke to CBC-Radio Canada. The sources spoke on condition they not be named because they were not authorized to comment.
A growing cabinet
Trudeau's first cabinet had 31 ministers, including himself. By the time Parliament was dissolved for this year's election, it had grown to 35 ministers.
All of Trudeau's ministers were re-elected in the October election except for Ralph Goodale and Amarjeeet Sohi, who both lost their seats.
The loss of two ministers poses a challenge to any sitting government — but Goodale and Sohi lost their seats as part of a Liberal wipeout in Alberta and Saskatchewan, making the job of crafting a cabinet representing all regions of the country particularly difficult.
Countering western anger
O'Regan's elevation to a ministry that plays a role in the energy sector appears to be part of an effort to stem frustration and anger in Alberta and Saskatchewan over the state of the oilpatch.
Alberta Premier Jason Kenney is trying to use the threat of a provincial referendum on equalization to force Trudeau to reform the program — which is meant to help poorer provinces deliver the same level of government services as richer ones — and to abandon or significantly amend federal environmental legislation.
Specifically, Kenney wants changes to Bill C-69, the law that changed the way natural resource projects are approved in Canada. The Alberta premier, who calls Bill C-69 the "no more pipelines" bill, also wants Trudeau to ensure that the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion is completed.
To address regional concerns in a minority government, Trudeau is expected to increase the size of cabinet.