Today, Prime Minister Trudeau shuffled his cabinet to replace outgoing Minister of Public Services and Procurement Judy Foote. Minister Foote had been on a leave of absence for family and health reasons and announced her resignation on Thursday, August 24. The Prime Minister also took the opportunity to shuffle other cabinet positions to reward strong performers and tackle some of the key challenges facing the government before the House of Commons returns on Monday September 18.
Prime Minister Trudeau announced that Seamus O’Regan (St. Johns South—Mount Pearl) would take Foote’s place as the minister from Newfoundland and Labrador, appointing him as Minister of Veterans Affairs and Associate Minister of National Defence. O’Regan replaces Kent Hehr (Calgary Centre), who was demoted to Minister of Sport and Persons with Disabilities after his office experienced difficulties executing the Prime Minister’s agenda, particularly promises related to lifetime pensions for injured veterans.
The most significant change announced, however, was the addition of a second minister to the Department of Indigenous and Northern Affairs, a major sign of the importance that Prime Minister Trudeau places on Indigenous issues. The department is now led by two senior ministers. Former Minister of Health Jane Philpott (Markham—Stouffville) was shuffled into the new role of Minister of Indigenous Services. Former Minister of Indigenous and Northern Affairs Carolyn Bennett’s role was reduced to overseeing relationships with Indigenous peoples as the new Minister of Crown-Indigenous Relations. These moves reflect a view that the challenges faced by this department are too great to be taken on by a single minister. The split is a logical one – with one senior minister responsible for negotiations and another responsible for service delivery (a reminder that the federal government is responsible for services such as health and education in Indigenous communities).
Former Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Finance Ginette Pettipas-Taylor (Moncton—Riverview—Dieppe) was promoted to Minister of Health to replace Minister Philpott. She takes on responsibility for stickhandling marijuana legalization through Parliament and implementation. Former Minister of Sports and Persons with Disabilities Carla Qualtrough (Vancouver Quadra) received a promotion to Minister of Public Services and Procurement. Public Services and Procurement currently faces several large challenges including the ongoing issue facing public servants with the Phoenix Pay System and upcoming warship procurements.
Summary of Changes
- The Hon. Ginette Pettipas-Taylor, Minister of Health
- The Hon. Seamus O’Regan, Minister of Veterans Affairs and Associate Minister of National Defence
- The Hon. Carla Qualtrough, Minister of Public Services and Procurement
- The Hon. Jane Philpott, Minister of Indigenous Services
- The Hon. Carolyn Bennett, Minister of Crown-Indigenous Relations, and Northern Affairs