Shuffling the deck
This week Prime Minister Trudeau announced a cabinet shuffle, an event that typically creates a strong level of reaction among parliamentary media, political watchers and pundits along with other elected officials.
Cabinet shuffles by design are intended to send a message and are not uncommon when a government is one year out from an election and is looking to shore up either, geographical regions, or portfolio areas where the Government believes it could be vulnerable.
By the numbers, the new cabinet has grown from 30 Ministers up to 35 Ministers with 5 new Ministers coming on board. and a few existing Ministers changing portfolios.
The key is to look at some of the new Ministers to get an idea on the message the Prime Minister is sending.
One of the new Ministers is former Toronto police Chief Bill Blair, who will become the Minister of Border Security and Organized Crime Reduction.
This seems a clear message that Mr. Trudeau has heard the concerns of many Canadians, that have been voiced through the official opposition, on the need to take action to secure the border.
Normally this responsibility is with the Minister of Public Safety however it appears the Prime Minister believes that two Ministers are required to address problems in this area.
Another new Minister is MP Filomena Tassi, from Hamilton, now becoming the Minister for Seniors.
Previously the Liberals had drawn criticism for eliminating the Minister of Seniors position, that was a hallmark of the former Conservative Government.
Today’s announcement, at least in theory, appears to be an effort to address those concerns.
Another curious change was the shuffle of Dominic LeBlanc from Fisheries and Oceans to Inter-Governmental Affairs, Northern Affairs and Internal Trade.
Previously Mr. Trudeau had appointed himself as the Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs so in effect he has fired himself from this position.
A factor for this change may be the changing provincial landscape. Particularly, the new Premiers in Saskatchewan and Ontario, who are less supportive of key Liberal issues such as the Trudeau carbon tax.
The movement of of Dominic LeBlanc from Fisheries and Oceans has created a potentially positive outcome for British Columbia as North Vancouver MP Jonathan Wilkinson becomes the Minister of Fisheries, Oceans and the Canadian Coast Guard.
Mr. Wilkinson is a well-respected individual and is widely viewed as a very capable and competent Member of Parliament.
I believe we all wish Mr. Wilkinson well in this challenging but very important new role.
Other changes include a three way swap where Jim Carr has moved from Natural Resources to International Trade that has opened the door for Amarjeet Sohi to move from Infrastructure to Natural Resources.
Moving in to fill the Infrastructure vacancy is François-Philippe Champagne formerly of International Trade.
Although there are other changes this summarizes some of the larger departmental changes.
Front bench Ministers not shuffled include Finance, Environment, Foreign Affairs, Defence, Justice, Transport and Immigration.
My question this week:
Did the shuffle go far enough or was it just right in how you view the current direction of this Liberal Government?
I can be reached at Dan.Albas@parl.gc.ca or call toll-free at 1-800-665-8711.
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Dan Albas is the Member of Parliament for the riding of Central Okanagan-Similkameen-Nicola.
Central Okanagan – Similkameen – Nicola