BIG SHAKEUP IN OTTAWA | Burrard Strategy

BIG SHAKEUP IN OTTAWA

Burrard Strategy

April 17, 2024

Burrard Strategy’s Political Pulse

 

FEDERAL CABINET SHUFFLE

July 27, 2023

 

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced a significant cabinet shuffle yesterday, promoting seven MP’s from the backbenches and reassigning the majority of cabinet roles. Here are the major changes:

  • Anita Anand becomes Treasury Board president.

  • Bill Blair becomes Minister of National Defence

  • Dominic LeBlanc becomes Minister of Public Safety, Democratic Institutions, and Intergovernmental Affairs

  • Sean Fraser becomes Minister of Housing, Infrastructure, and Communities.

  • Pablo Rodriguez stays as Quebec Lieutenant and becomes Minister of Transport 

  • Pascale St-Onge becomes Minister of Canadian Heritage

  • Jean-Yves Duclos becomes Minister of Public Services and Procurement.

  • Mark Holland becomes Minister of Health.

  • Jonathan Wilkinson stays as Minister of Natural resources but adds the responsibility of Energy

  • Harjit Sajjan becomes King’s Privy Council president.

  • Carla Qualtrough becomes Minister of Sport and Physical Activity.

  • Marc Miller becomes Minister of Immigration, Refugees, and Citizenship.

  • Ahmed Hussen becomes Minister of International Development.

  • Seamus O’Regan stays as the Minister of Labour, but adds responsibility for Seniors.

  • Kamal Khera becomes Minister of Diversity, Inclusion, and Persons with Disabilities.

  • Randy Boissonnault becomes Minister of Employment, Workforce development, and Official Languages.

  • Karina Gould becomes leader of the government in the House of Commons.

Departures from Cabinet

Seven ministers have been removed from cabinet, with some choosing not to seek reelection, and others departing due to public and opposition pressure or shortcomings in their roles. The individuals departing cabinet are: Omar Alghabra, Joyce Murray, Helena Jaczek, Carolyn Bennett, Marco Mendicino, David Lametti, and Mona Fortier.

Today, we will focus on Joyce Murray.

JOYCE MURRAY

The Honourable Joyce Murray has been a steadfast pillar of the Liberal Party of Canada on the west coast since her election as the Member of Parliament for Vancouver Quadra in 2008, historically one of the safest Liberal ridings west of Ontario. However, her recent decision not to seek re-election is expected to ignite intense competition to replace her as the Liberal candidate.

Murray is renowned for her unwavering advocacy for the environment and democratic engagement. Her impressive political journey includes a notable bid for the leadership of the Liberal Party when Justin Trudeau was chosen. She came second. 

Over the course of her federal political career, she has served as Minister of Digital Government and President of the Treasury Board. Prior to her distinguished political endeavors, Murray spent 25 years building an international reforestation company that has successfully planted nearly 1.5 billion trees, with more than 500,000 trees planted by her own hands.

Her commitment to public service also extends to her time in BC’s provincial cabinet under Premier Gordon Campbell. Joyce Murray’s legacy as a dedicated leader and environmental champion continues to leave a lasting impact on Canadian politics.

Rookie MPs Promoted to Cabinet

Gary Anandasangaree – Minister of Crown-Indigenous Relations.

Arif Virani – Minister of Justice and Attorney General.

Soraya Martinez Ferrada – Minister of Tourism and responsible for Quebec economic development.

Ya’ara Saks – Minister of Mental Health and Addictions.

Jenna Sudds – Minister of Families, Children, and Social Development.

Rechie Valdez – Minister of Small Business.

Terry Beech – Minister of Citizens’ Services.

British Columbia’s New Representation in Cabinet

TERRY BEECH

Minister Terry Beech has been proudly serving as the Member of Parliament for Burnaby North-Seymour since 2015. With a diverse parliamentary background, he notably held positions as Parliamentary Secretary to the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance, and also to the Minister of Fisheries, Oceans, and the Canadian Coast Guard. His journey in public service began in 1999 with his election to the Nanaimo city council. 

A distinguished academic, entrepreneur, and co-founder of a non-profit, Minister Beech brings a wealth of experience to his role. The independent-minded new minister earned an MBA from Oxford University, and has consistently advocated for his constituents on issues like the TMX pipeline. He will no doubt passionately contribute to crucial Cabinet discussions and raise the profile of BC at the Cabinet table.

Current Ministers Retaining Their Positions

Eight ministers are keeping their current roles, including Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland, Minister of Innovation, Science and Industry Francois-Philippe Champagne, Foreign Affairs Minister Melanie Joly, Environment and Climate Change Minister Steven Guilbeault, Indigenous Services Minister Patty Hajdu, Women and Gender Equality and Youth Minister Marci Ien, Minister of Northern Affairs Dan Vandal, who also oversees Prairie economic development, as well as Minister Filomena Tassi who is responsible for the Federal Economic Development Agency for Southern Ontario.

Discussion

The recent cabinet shuffle is the most significant reconfiguration of the government’s cabinet since the Liberal Party’s election in 2015. The ceremony, overseen by Governor General Mary Simon, witnessed the elevation of seven backbench MPs to cabinet positions, along with several reassignments.

As all cabinet members serve at the Prime Minister’s discretion, the government’s declining support in recent polls and challenges in communicating various issues necessitated the introduction of fresh faces and ideas into key portfolios. The reshuffle aims to bolster the government’s economic approach, particularly in areas like housing and clean energy, while presenting a renewed and united front to the voters. By retaining high-performing ministers in their current roles and bringing in new talent, the Liberal Party seeks to make a compelling case for re-election in the upcoming election.

Following the shuffle, the reassigned and promoted cabinet members are prioritizing and refocusing on the promises made during the 2021 election, while preparing for the return of Parliament in September. The newly-formed cabinet has already convened a meeting to discuss critical government priorities and prepare for the challenges that lie ahead in the fall session.

The introduction of new leadership, particularly in key portfolios such as Housing, Defence, Health, Immigration, and Public Safety showcases the government’s commitment to address these pressing issues that have become more urgent in recent months. This renewal is aimed at demonstrating to the public that the government is earnest in resolving these challenges.

Recent polling from Abacus Data shows that 81% of Canadians want a change in government. The newly established cabinet faces the crucial task of rebuilding public trust and presenting an inspiring vision for the country. The government must be unwavering in its commitment not only to effective policy-making but also in its communication strategy, particularly when addressing issues related to economic growth, healthcare, and the affordability crisis. 

The government will be leaning on their best communicators in the coming months and years to tell Canadians why they deserve the confidence of the public and a renewed mandate in 2025.

Key Highlights – NEW ROLES 

SEAN FRASER

(Central Nova) Minister of Housing, Infrastructure, and Communities.

The housing shortage crisis has extended its grip nationwide, not limited to just Vancouver and Toronto, prompting relentless criticism from Pierre Poilievre and the Conservative Party regarding the current federal housing approach.

Former housing minister, Ahmed Hussein, faced intense scrutiny for the increasing urgency of the housing crisis during his tenure. Fueling the controversy further, he published a tone-deaf Op-Ed defending mayors from criticism over their perceived inaction in addressing the crisis, deepening public dissatisfaction with the government’s response.

However, a fresh perspective emerges with the new minister from Atlantic Canada, equipped with an understanding of a key housing shortage driver: unprecedented immigration levels. Minister Sean Fraser’s experience from Nova Scotia, and prior role as Minister of Immigration, Refugees, and Citizenship, will give him valuable insights into the impact of increased immigration on housing prices.

Victorious in the competitive Central Nova riding in 2015, Fraser’s prior success as a commercial litigator specializing in environmental and indigenous law strengthens his expertise in addressing housing challenges, especially considering environmental and indigenous factors.

Recognizing housing as a crucial element of social justice, Minister Fraser’s adept communication skills will be pivotal in conveying the government’s commitment to tackle this pressing issue, while working to improve the public’s perception of the government’s approach on housing, which has faced increased criticism.

BIll BLAIR

(Scarborough Southwest) Minister of National Defence

Minister Bill Blair, elected in 2015 for the riding of Scarborough Southwest, had a distinguished career as Toronto’s former Chief of Police before entering politics. He held significant cabinet positions, including Border Security and Organized Crime. 

Now, he is set to replace Anita Anand, a highly regarded minister, in his new role. While Minister Blair has faced criticism in the past for handling critical files, his seniority in the Prime Minister’s cabinet inspires confidence in his ability to bring a fresh perspective to the defence portfolio. Addressing pressing issues like the War in Ukraine and updating the government’s defence policy will be among his top priorities.

MARK HOLLAND 

(Ajax) Minister of Health

Minister Holland, currently serving his sixth term as a Member of Parliament, has been a dedicated and unwavering supporter of the party since his first election in 2004. With an illustrious parliamentary career, Minister Holland has notably held the position of government whip, where he exhibited strong leadership and vocal advocacy for the party’s initiatives.

In his new role as Minister of Health, he brings a fresh perspective to a critical portfolio that has been grappling with significant challenges in hospital capacity and health services across Canada. Minister Holland’s experience in both public and private health-related initiatives, including his work with the Heart and Stroke Foundation of Canada, underscores his commitment to advancing healthcare for all Canadians.

Minister Holland’s reputation as a strident and outspoken advocate further bolsters the expectation that he will actively engage in finding innovative solutions to Canada’s healthcare system.

MARC MILLER

(Ville-Marie—Le Sud-Ouest—Île-des-Sœurs) Minister of Immigration, Refugees, and Citizenship

Minister Miller was elected in 2015 and previously served as Minister of Crown-Indigenous Relations. Before his political career, he specialized in international and commercial law, working in Montréal, Stockholm, and New York City. Additionally, he served as an infantry soldier in the Canadian Armed Forces. 

Minister Miller has been a vocal advocate for increased federal investment in affordable housing, public transit, and the Canada Child Benefit. As the new Minister of Immigration, Refugees, and Citizenship, he plays a pivotal role in shaping Canada’s immigration policies, streamlining processes, and ensuring successful settlement for newcomers. 

This appointment comes in light of new government priorities, focused on welcoming a significant increase in the number of new Canadians annually.

DOMINIC LEBLANC

(Beauséjour) Minister of Public Safety, Democratic Institutions, and Intergovernmental Affairs

Minister Leblanc has been a Member of Parliament for Beauséjour since 2000, winning seven re-elections. His extensive political career includes serving as Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs, Infrastructure and Communities, President of the Queen’s Privy Council for Canada, Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs and Northern Affairs and Internal Trade, Minister of Fisheries, Oceans, and the Canadian Coast Guard, and Leader of the Government in the House of Commons. 

Minister Leblanc worked as a lawyer before his time in politics and spent years as a  Senior Advisor to former Prime Minister Jean Chrétien, Deputy Government Whip, and Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of National Defence. 

Canada is grappling with a concerning public safety crisis, marked by a surge in seemingly random acts of violence and escalating violent crime in major cities. The government’s decision to appoint one of its most well-liked, competent, and highly-regarded ministers to this crucial portfolio reflects their recognition of the urgency of the situation. This move is expected to play a pivotal role in bolstering safety measures in Canada’s largest cities, in the months and years to come.

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