Friday , January 15 2021

A reshuffle that smacks of elections

By shuffling his cards, Justin Trudeau continues to prepare for possible early elections. Publicly, the federal Liberals swear that yesterday’s cabinet shuffle is not a sign of an imminent election. Veteran Toronto Minister Navdeep Bains’ departure from political life forces this game of musical chairs, said Justin Trudeau. In reality, in the context of a minority government, federal parties are perpetually at war. Having said that, the Prime Minister yesterday appointed a cabinet he believes is ready to campaign.

The hyperactive

Francois-Philippe Champagne

Age: 50 years

Profession: lawyer Ministry: Innovation, Science and Industry

By leaving Foreign Affairs for the Ministry of Innovation, Science and Industry, the member for Saint-Maurice – Champlain loses in prestige, but gains in visibility. This department risks being at the heart of the post-COVID economic recovery. A good communicator, Mr. Champagne is the perfect man to distribute checks and cut ribbons, which was not the strength of his predecessor, the discreet but efficient Navdeep Bains. The Liberals plan to spend $ 70 billion to $ 100 billion over the next few years to get the economy going after the pandemic. Mr. Champagne may therefore be very busy. He also has the advantage of coming from the regions of Quebec, a rare species in the Liberal caucus. Mr. Trudeau chose one of his best “campaigners” to help him face the Bloc on the ground outside Montreal.

The safe bet

Marc Garneau

Age: 71

Profession: astronaut Ministry: Foreign Affairs

Marc Garneau leaves Transports for Foreign Affairs. This change is timely for the Montreal MP. Mr. Garneau was unable to come to an agreement with the aviation industry which requested emergency assistance during the pandemic. We can imagine a difficult relationship between the parties. From a diplomatic standpoint, the departure of US President Donald Trump calms our relationship with the United States, despite the chaotic and bloody transition unfolding before our eyes. Day to day, managing this relationship for the Trudeau government will no longer be a trap. Mr. Garneau knows this country well, having lived there for nine years. Two of his children were born there. Mr. Garneau leaves a mixed record with Transports, in which we must constantly put out fires. In Mr. Garneau, the Prime Minister has equipped himself with a sober, discreet foreign minister who will not make waves, in this possibly election year. This does not mean that the member for Notre-Dame-de-Grâce – Westmount does not have his work cut out for him, while Canadians are still arbitrarily imprisoned in China.

The student

Omar Alghabra

Age: 51

Profession: engineer Ministry: Transport

This member of Parliament from the heart of Toronto will have his arms full. He inherits the Ministry of Transport at a time when the aviation industry is going through an unprecedented crisis. His predecessor, Marc Garneau, had been unable to come to an agreement with the big players in this sector who are asking for financial assistance from Ottawa. The federal government must also shortly approve the purchase of the Quebec tour operator Air Transat by Air Canada. Unilingual Anglophone, Mr. Alghabra admitted at a press conference that he must familiarize himself with these files before commenting on them. The slope may be steep.

The scout

Jim carr

Age: 69

Profession: musician and journalist Minister without portfolio and special representative for the Prairies

Another clue that an election is approaching: Manitoban Jim Carr, Justin Trudeau’s special advisor for the Prairies, is entering cabinet. This former Minister of Natural Resources has fought a virulent cancer in recent years. His return to the ministerial family is an encouraging sign of his recovery. It is extremely rare for a minister to have no portfolio. Jim Carr will be the eyes and ears of Justin Trudeau on the Prairies, where the Liberals were almost wiped off the map in the last election, electing just four MPs. In Jim Carr, Justin Trudeau offers himself a scout in hostile terrain.

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