The 3 new faces of Justin Trudeau's Liberal cabinet

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau makes major changes to his ministerial contingent, giving three young rookie MPs the chance to sit around the cabinet table.

François-Philippe Champagne, Ahmed Hussen and Karina Gould to join federal cabinet

Quebec MP François-Philippe Champagne will serve as minister of international trade, left, Canada's new immigration minister, Ontario MP Ahmed Hussen, centre, and minister of democratic institutions, Ontario MP Karina Gould, right, will join Prime Minister Justin Trudeau's cabinet. (CBC News/Canadian Press)

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau made major changes to his ministerial contingent Tuesday, elevating three rookie MPs to the cabinet table.

The new privy councillors include Canada's first Somali-Canadian MP, the youngest female cabinet minister in the country's history and a rising star from former prime minister Jean Chrétien's hometown.

Breaking down Trudeau's new cabinet

7 years ago
Duration 2:32
The CBC's polls analyst Éric Grenier looks at the regional, gender and ethnic representation of the new cabinet ministers.

Ahmed Hussen

Long-time Liberal MP John McCallum is leaving federal politics for Beijing, where he will become Canada's ambassador to China, and he will cede his immigration post to Ahmed Hussen, the first black Canadian to serve in Trudeau's cabinet.

The Somali-born Hussen came to Canada as a refugee at the tender age of 16 after fleeing his war-ravaged native land.

After arriving from Mogadishu, he became a track and field star at his Hamilton high school before moving to Toronto to live with an older brother in the city's Regent Park public housing development. He worked at a gas station in Mississauga, an hour commute from his home, to scrape together enough money for tuition at York University.

Along the way, he volunteered with Ontario Liberal Party and was brought into former premier Dalton McGuinty's office after the 2003 election campaign ended Tory rule in the province. It was there that he first crossed paths with the likes of Gerald Butts and Katie Telford, now Trudeau's top lieutenants who also worked at Queen's Park.

Ahmed Hussen talks with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau after being sworn in as Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship during a cabinet shuffle at Rideau Hall in Ottawa on Tuesday, Jan 10, 2017. (Sean Kilpatrick/Canadian Press)

Hussen, 39, became an advocate for his impoverished community inside the premier's office and helped secure millions in funding to revitalize his dilapidated housing project. Later, he left to become president of the Canadian Somali Congress.

His victory in York South–Weston was a source of pride for many of his fellow Somalis — who form a sizable voting block in the north Toronto riding — but Hussen has insisted he does not want to be seen as a token MP.

"I'm Canadian" Hussen told CBC News after his election.

"I have a lot to contribute to Canada, and I'm a mainstream guy, I'm not limited by my community. Everyone has a heritage, but we have a shared citizenship."

Hussen reiterated Tuesday his reluctance at being branded the "Somali" cabinet minister. "I've done a lot of work outside my community," he said, noting his advocacy for Regent Park represented the concerns of residents from 65 different ethnic backgrounds.

"I've always prided myself as a Canadian. I'm also proud of my heritage. But I think the two can work together, and I think Canada is one of the few countries that can actually happen," he said.

Karina Gould

Gould's appointment as minister of democratic institutions will lower the average age of cabinet ministers considerably. She is replacing another young privy councilor, Maryam Monsef, who will be shuffled to the status of women portfolio.

Gould, 29, is the youngest female cabinet minister in Canadian history.

The Burlington, Ont., MP is an Oxford University graduate and a trade and investment specialist who worked for the Mexican Trade Commission before her foray into federal politics.

Karina Gould poses with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau (right) and Gov.-Gen. David Johnston after being sworn in as Minister of Democratic Institutions during a cabinet shuffle at Rideau Hall in Ottawa. (Sean Kilpatrick/Canadian Press)

She volunteered at a Mexican orphanage while a student at McGill University, and later worked as a consultant to the migrant and development program at the Organization of American States in Washington, D.C., experience that made her a natural fit for the role of parliamentary secretary to the minister of international development, Marie-Claude Bibeau.

Gould has had an interest in federal politics since a young age. She has pinpointed a visit by former Liberal MP for Burlington, Paddy Torsney, to her high school civics class, as an early inspiration to run for elected office.

"I was so impressed with her," Gould told the Bay Observer, the local Burlington newspaper, after her election. "It really inspired me to think it was a real possibility for me as a woman to become an MP."

Both of her paternal grandparents are Holocaust survivors.

Cabinet newbie Karina Gould on new position

7 years ago
Duration 6:00
The Minister of Democratic Institutions at 29 years old is the youngest female cabinet minister in Canadian history.

François-Philippe Champagne

François-Philippe Champagne has been a strong lieutenant of Finance Minister Bill Morneau over the past year, and will now take a seat at the cabinet table as the minister of international trade.

Champagne takes over the hot file as support for global trade wanes in much of the Western world amid an ascendency of protectionist rhetoric.

Champagne has one notable supporter in his corner: former prime minister Jean Chrétien. Both Champagne and Chrétien hail from Shawinigan, in rural Mauricie area of Quebec, and the Liberal lion encouraged the lawyer turned international businessman to run in the last election.

François-Philippe Champagne is sworn in as Minister of International Trade during a cabinet shuffle at Rideau Hall in Ottawa. (Adrian Wyld/Canadian Press)

"He worked in Europe, around the world," Chrétien recently said in French in an interview with Quebec paper Le Nouvelliste, which recently named Champagne "person of the year."

"He came to see me, he explained to me that one day he would like to practice politics," Chrétien said.

"I encouraged him. I gave him my advice. He worked very hard, returned to his home, prepared himself and was elected. He does very well in Ottawa; everyone says it. I am very proud of him. He understands that it is not easy and that you have to work."

Champagne, 46, worked abroad in the field of green technology and as a vice-president and senior counsel at ABB Group, a multinational Swiss conglomerate.

He was awarded the Young Global Leader award at 2009 World Economic Forum.

Trudeau shuffles cabinet

7 years ago
Duration 2:36
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has shuffled his cabinet. Chrystia Freeland was promoted to foreign affairs minister, while Stéphane Dion, John McCallum and MaryAnn Mihychuk are no longer in cabinet.