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Memorandum: Prime Minister Justin Trudeau Shuffles His Cabinet
On July 26, Justin Trudeau announced a sweeping change to the federal cabinet. In all, seven Ministers either announced their retirement or were shown the door, while seven Liberal backbenchers were elevated to sit in cabinet for the first time. This is the 17th cabinet shuffle since the Liberals came to power in 2015 and maintains the gender balance of the 38 Ministers joining Trudeau in cabinet.
This memo details information and insight about the changes and includes bios for new ministers.
On Their Way Out
In the spring of 2023, senior Liberal staffers including Brian Clow and Marjorie Michel canvassed members of cabinet to begin assessing which Ministers intended to run as a candidate in the next federal election. This is standard practice in any government passing the halfway mark, as it is important to make room for new members of the team who will carry the torch in the next election. But it is especially important in a minority government when an election can be triggered at any time.
In the lead-up to the cabinet shuffle, Omar Alghabra (Transport), Helena Jaczek (Public Services and Procurement), Carolyn Bennett (Mental Health and Addictions), and Joyce Murray (Fisheries) each announced that they would not be running in the next election. Each were removed from cabinet to make way for new Ministers.
Joining them on their way out of cabinet were Mona Fortier (Treasury Board), David Lametti (Justice), and Marco Mendicino (Public Safety). For some, the removal of Fortier and Lametti came as a surprise, as there were no glaring mishaps during their tenures. Mendicino, however, faced a difficult hand at both Immigration and Public Safety and found himself unable to get ahead of issues, often winding up on the wrong side of communication challenges.
On Their Way In
- Gary Anandasangaree becomes Minister of Crown-Indigenous Relations
- Terry Beech becomes Minister of Citizens' Services
- Soraya Martinez Ferrada becomes Minister of Tourism and Minister responsible for the Economic Development Agency of Canada for the Regions of Quebec
- Ya'ara Saks becomes Minister of Mental Health and Addictions and Associate Minister of Health
- Jenna Sudds becomes Minister of Families, Children and Social Development
- Rechie Valdez becomes Minister of Small Business
- Arif Virani becomes Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada
Members of the original Team Trudeau, Gary Anandasangaree, Terry Beech, and Arif Virani are rewarded for strong performances they’ve delivered over several years as Parliamentary Secretaries in tricky and important files. Perhaps most notably, Virani was Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Justice and the government’s lead communicator on the SNC-Lavalin scandal, earning him high praise from many pundits and Liberals.
- Anita Anand becomes President of the Treasury Board
- Marie-Claude Bibeau becomes Minister of National Revenue
- Bill Blair becomes Minister of National Defence
- Randy Boissonnault becomes Minister of Employment, Workforce Development and Official Languages
- Jean-Yves Duclos becomes Minister of Public Services and Procurement
- Sean Fraser becomes Minister of Housing, Infrastructure and Communities
- Karina Gould becomes Leader of the Government in the House of Commons
- Mark Holland becomes Minister of Health
- Ahmed Hussen becomes Minister of International Development
- Gudie Hutchings becomes Minister of Rural Economic Development and Minister responsible for the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency
- Kamal Khera becomes Minister of Diversity, Inclusion and Persons with Disabilities
- Dominic LeBlanc becomes Minister of Public Safety, Democratic Institutions and Intergovernmental Affairs
- Diane Lebouthillier becomes Minister of Fisheries, Oceans and the Canadian Coast Guard
- Lawrence MacAulay becomes Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food
- Marc Miller becomes Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship
- Mary Ng becomes Minister of Export Promotion, International Trade and Economic Development
- Seamus O'Regan Jr. becomes Minister of Labour and Seniors
- Ginette Petitpas Taylor becomes Minister of Veterans Affairs and Associate Minister of National Defence
- Carla Qualtrough becomes Minister of Sport and Physical Activity
- Pablo Rodriguez becomes Minister of Transport and will continue to serve as Quebec Lieutenant
- Harjit S. Sajjan becomes President of the King's Privy Council for Canada and Minister of Emergency Preparedness and Minister responsible for the Pacific Economic Development Agency of Canada
- Pascale St-Onge becomes Minister of Canadian Heritage
- Jonathan Wilkinson becomes Minister of Energy and Natural Resources
In many cases, we see tweaks of mandates and titles or what could be considered ‘lateral’ movements between some Ministers trading places. Digging deeper, however, one can see that the most substantial changes are intended to help the government better communicate on sensitive and economic files that have led to the Liberals’ recent slumps in public polls. Perhaps most notably, Sean Fraser assuming the role of Minister of Infrastructure and Housing sets up for a key battle with Pierre Poilievre over the sensitive issue of housing affordability (after many bouts during Fraser’s time as Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministers of Environment and Finance).
- Chrystia Freeland, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance
- François-Philippe Champagne, Minister of Innovation, Science and Industry
- Steven Guilbeault, Minister of Environment and Climate Change
- Patty Hajdu, Minister of Indigenous Services and Minister responsible for the Federal Economic Development Agency for Northern Ontario
- Marci Ien, Minister for Women and Gender Equality and Youth
- Mélanie Joly, Minister of Foreign Affairs
- Filomena Tassi, Minister responsible for the Federal Economic Development Agency for Southern Ontario
- Dan Vandal, Minister of Northern Affairs, Minister responsible for Prairies Economic Development Canada, and Minister responsible for the Canadian Northern Economic Development Agency
Maintaining consistency and continuity at critical departments such as Finance, Industry, and Foreign Affairs is sensible for a government that has been overhauling its economy to be one for the future. Perhaps most notably, Steven Guilbeault maintaining his role as Minister of Environment and Climate Change is an indication that the government will continue to try to wedge the Conservatives on their lack of a climate plan while providing a clear indication to industry that Canada is serious about its net-zero commitments.
There are two general themes at play in the Prime Minister’s shuffling of the cabinet. Ministers with a track record of delivering were placed in roles that require less communication to sway voters but that require the government to deliver results. Meanwhile, strong communicators were placed in roles where key demographics within the Liberal voter bloc will need to be sold not only on the programs and supports the government has already delivered but reassured that the government understands the unique pressures and challenges that have made life more difficult in recent years.
The full cabinet met for the first time in its new formation Wednesday afternoon following the morning cabinet shuffle, providing an opportunity to welcome new Ministers and discuss pressing issues including the recent port workers’ strike and lingering economic challenges including the cost-of-living squeeze.
Next, Ministers will go through a series of briefings from both departmental and political staff, as political staff undergo their own shuffle.
Finally, the cabinet will gather in Charlottetown from August 21-23 for presentations from officials, the Liberal Research Bureau (which services the Liberal Caucus), and senior staff, and chart a course for government both in the coming session and through to the next federal election (scheduled for 2025 but anticipated to be called earlier).
Biographies for new Ministers :
The Honourable Gary Anandasangaree, Minister of Crown-Indigenous Relations
The Honourable Gary Anandasangaree was first elected as the Member of Parliament for Scarborough—Rouge Park in 2015. He has previously served as Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada, as Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Crown-Indigenous Relations, and as Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Canadian Heritage and Multiculturalism.
Minister Anandasangaree is an internationally recognized human rights lawyer and community activist who has advocated tirelessly for education and justice.
He has served as Chair of the Canadian Tamil Youth Development Centre, President of the Canadian Tamils’ Chamber of Commerce, and counsel to the Canadian Tamil Congress. He was also a board member of the Youth Challenge Fund, a member of the Toronto Police Chief’s Advisory Board, and a member of the United Way Newcomers Grant Program.
Minister Anandasangaree managed his own law firm in Scarborough, Ontario, specializing in business, real estate, and international human rights law. As a passionate advocate for human rights, he regularly represented Lawyers’ Rights Watch Canada at the United Nations. He also served as a strong advocate for local youth, intervening in cases of wrongful student expulsion and suspension.
In honour of his devotion to community service and local advocacy, Minister Anandasangaree has received both the Queen Elizabeth II Golden Jubilee Medal and the Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal. He also received the Osgoode Hall Law School “One to Watch” Gold Key Award and the South Asian Bar Association’s Young Practitioner Award.
Minister Anandasangaree holds degrees from Carleton University and Osgoode Hall Law School. He is married and has two children, Bairvai and Sahanah.
The Honourable Terry Beech, Minister of Citizens’ Services
The Honourable Terry Beech was first elected as the Member of Parliament for Burnaby North—Seymour in 2015. He has previously served as Parliamentary Secretary to the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance, as Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Fisheries, Oceans and the Canadian Coast Guard and to the Minister of Economic Development and Official Languages (B.C.), as Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Transport, and as Parliamentary Secretary for Science.
Minister Beech is an accomplished and experienced entrepreneur, educator, and advocate. He entered public service in 1999 when he was elected as a city councillor in Nanaimo, British Columbia.
As an adjunct professor at Simon Fraser University and the University of British Columbia, Minister Beech was co-author of The In-Credibility Factor, which highlights Canada’s ability to be a global leader in innovation and entrepreneurship. He founded the tech company HiretheWorld.com, an international community of professional web and graphic designers, and was a co-founder of Twinbro, a non-profit organization that has helped over 25,000 students obtain millions of dollars in scholarships and financial aid, with a particular focus on disadvantaged students.
Minister Beech studied public administration at Capilano University. He holds a Bachelor’s degree with a joint major in Business and Economics from Simon Fraser University, and a Master of Business Administration from the University of Oxford. He was named one of Maclean’s Top 30 Under 30 in 2004, one of Business in Vancouver’s Top 40 under 40 in 2013, and a Young Global Leader by the World Economic Forum. He was also selected as an Action Canada Fellow, a program for emerging leaders in public policy.
Minister Beech is currently raising his family in Burnaby North—Seymour with his wife.
The Honourable Arif Virani, Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada
The Honourable Arif Virani was first elected as the Member of Parliament for Parkdale—High Park in 2015. He has previously served as Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of International Trade, Export Promotion, Small Business and Economic Development, as Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada and to the Minister of Democratic Institutions, as Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Canadian Heritage (Multiculturalism), and as Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship.
Minister Virani is an Ismaili Muslim who came to Canada in 1972 as a Ugandan Asian refugee. Before entering politics, he practised law for 15 years, starting his career as a civil litigator at Fasken Martineau and subsequently working as a constitutional litigator at the Ministry of the Attorney General of Ontario, advocating for human rights and access to justice.
Minister Virani previously worked as an analyst with the Canadian Human Rights Commission in Ottawa, an investigator at the Commission des droits de la personne et des droits de la jeunesse in Montréal, and an Assistant Trial Attorney prosecuting genocide at the United Nations International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda. He was a consultant on police reform with the Commonwealth Human Rights Initiative in India, and was also one of the founding board members of the South Asian Legal Clinic of Ontario in Toronto, which provides direct legal services for low-income people of South Asian heritage.
Minister Virani has been an active volunteer in his community. He is a supporter of The Redwood, a shelter for women and children fleeing abuse, has frequently helped at the Parkdale Community Food Bank, and still maintains his role as “Sorauren Park Hoser” ‒ assisting with the community rink build each winter. Prior to his first election, he was also an active volunteer with RoncyWorks, a network of neighbours, business owners, and organizations that work together to improve community space, and led community efforts in Parkdale—High Park to address mental health stigma.
Minister Virani received the 2001 Harold G. Fox litigation scholarship at the Middle Temple in London, United Kingdom, and the 2008 Wilson-Prichard Award from the University of Toronto’s Faculty of Law in recognition of his contributions to the legal profession and his community.
Minister Virani holds a Bachelor of Arts in History and Political Science (Honours) from McGill University, and completed his Bachelor of Laws at the University of Toronto, where he graduated as valedictorian. He speaks English, French, and some Hindi ‒ his Polish, Ukrainian, and Tibetan are works in progress. He is married and the active coach of his two sons.
The Honourable Soraya Martinez Ferrada, Minister of Tourism and Minister responsible for the Economic Development Agency of Canada for the Regions of Quebec
The Honourable Soraya Martinez Ferrada was first elected as the Member of Parliament for Hochelaga in 2019. She has previously served as Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Housing and Diversity and Inclusion (Housing), as Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Transport, and as Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship.
For over 20 years, Minister Martinez Ferrada has been a strong voice for her community and for building a growing local economy and thriving cultural sector. For example, she created the very first cultural and socio-professional integration program at TOHU, a centre for the performing arts and a unique example of sustainable development in Montréal.
Minister Martinez Ferrada was involved in municipal politics for more than 10 years. In 2005, she was elected as a city councillor for Saint-Michel and was appointed to the City of Montréal’s Executive Committee as the Associate Advisor for Culture. From 2015 to 2018, she served as Chief of Staff and Senior Advisor to the Minister of Canadian Heritage.
Minister Martinez Ferrada holds a Master’s degree in management from the HEC Montréal. A resident of the east end of Montréal since she came to Canada from Chile as a political refugee with her family in 1980, she is a proud mother of two.
The Honourable Ya’ara Saks, Minister of Mental Health and Addictions and Associate Minister of Health
The Honourable Ya’ara Saks was first elected as the Member of Parliament for York Centre in 2020. She has previously served as Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Families, Children and Social Development. She was also a member of the Standing Committee on Environment and Sustainable Development and the Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs and International Development, as well as various parliamentary associations and interparliamentary groups.
Minister Saks is a long-time community advocate and leader focused on promoting health and addressing inequalities in society. Before entering politics, she was a successful small business owner and the Director of Trauma Practice for Healthy Communities, a Toronto-based mental health charity working for better access to mental health services.
Minister Saks brings a Canadian and global perspective to her community engagement work. She has held advisory roles in policy, communications, and project management, having worked in the Office of the Mayor of Jerusalem and on the Israeli-Palestinian peace process.
Minister Saks holds a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science and Middle East Studies from McGill University and a Master of International Relations and Diplomacy from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. She is the mother of two daughters.
The Honourable Jenna Sudds, Minister of Families, Children and Social Development
The Honourable Jenna Sudds was first elected as the Member of Parliament for Kanata—Carleton in 2021. She has previously served as Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for Women and Gender Equality and Youth.
Minister Sudds has worked as an economist, a municipal councillor, and a community advocate.
From 2018 to 2021, Minister Sudds served on the Ottawa City Council. During this time, she chaired the City’s Community and Protective Services Committee and held the role of Deputy Mayor starting in 2020. She also sat on the boards of Hydro Ottawa and Invest Ottawa. As city councillor, she worked to protect green spaces, improve local infrastructure and transit, and support the community’s economic recovery during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Before entering politics, Minister Sudds was the Executive Director of the CIO Strategy Council, a national technology forum, and the President and Executive Director of the Kanata North Business Association. She also worked as a senior economist for the Government of Canada for over 10 years, focusing her expertise on the taxation of multi-national corporations and tax avoidance.
Minister Sudds has been an active member of her community for many years, volunteering with the Kanata Food Cupboard and Ottawa Network for Education. She has received a Special Recognition Award from the Kanata Food Cupboard for her leadership and service to those in need in the community. She received a 40 under 40 Award from the Ottawa Business Journal and the Ottawa Chamber of Commerce in 2015, and was named one of Development Counsellors International’s Top 40 under 40 working in economic development in 2017.
Minister Sudds holds a Bachelor in Economics from Brock University and a Master of Arts in Economics from Carleton University. She is a long-time resident of Ottawa, where she lives with her husband and their three daughters.
The Honourable Rechie Valdez, Minister of Small Business
The Honourable Rechie Valdez was elected as the Member of Parliament for Mississauga—Streetsville in 2021. She has been a member of various parliamentary committees and associations, including the Standing Committee on Veterans Affairs and the Canadian NATO Parliamentary Association, as well as the Chair of the Canada-Philippines Parliamentary Friendship Group.
Minister Valdez is a Canadian entrepreneur, television personality, and community advocate. She is the first Filipino-Canadian woman elected as a Member of Parliament and appointed to Cabinet, and is committed to ensuring the diverse voices of her community are heard.
Before entering politics, Minister Valdez owned and operated a small business, and dedicated herself to growing her online business avenues. She was also the host of a television show that shares the stories of entrepreneurs, creators, and artists. Prior to that, she worked in corporate banking for 15 years, where she developed her expertise in change management and strategic initiatives. Drawing on her longstanding advocacy, Minister Valdez also sponsored the National Women’s Entrepreneurship Act in 2022.
A sports enthusiast, Minister Valdez has used her love for basketball to raise funds for children’s charities. She has made numerous media appearances, was a public speaker, and is a mentor dedicated to the empowerment of women, girls, youth, and diverse and marginalized groups.
Born and raised in Zambia, Minister Valdez immigrated to Canada with her family in 1989. She is married and the mother of two children.
July 26 | 2023