Canada’s PM Trudeau overhauls Cabinet for third mandate

New government will once again achieve gender parity, with equal number of men and women serving in senior roles

Justin Trudeau unveiled his new 38-member Cabinet at Rideau Hall in Ottawa on Tuesday morning. Reuters

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau unveiled his new 38-member Cabinet on Tuesday, with an equal number of men and women serving in senior roles and a long-time activist appointed as environment minister.

Mr Trudeau's Liberal Party won a third mandate last month but he fell short of an overall House of Commons majority, with many Canadian voters angered by his decision to call an early election during the pandemic.

While many faces are familiar, including Chrystia Freeland, who is staying on as finance minister and deputy prime minister, there are 10 new ministers and big changes to significant dossiers.

Steven Guilbeault, who worked for green organisations for more than 20 years, will help steer Mr Trudeau’s ambitious climate agenda as minister of environment, sparking hopes among green advocates that Ottawa would double down on a climate record they say is poor.

Harjit Sajjan, who served for six years as defence minister, is out after the Canadian military was rocked by a series of sexual misconduct scandals.

Anita Anand is taking his place, the second woman to hold the position. Kim Campbell served as defence minister in 1993, a position she held briefly before becoming Canada’s first woman prime minister.

Melanie Joly, who has long been seen as a rising star in Canadian politics, will be the country's new face abroad, having replaced Marc Garneau, a former astronaut and seasoned politician, as Canada’s minister of foreign affairs.

Ms Joly is the fifth person to hold the position since Mr Trudeau took office in 2015.

"It's a role that would really benefit from some stability," said Stephanie Chouinard, an associate professor at the Royal Military College and Queen’s University.

"I think everyone in Canada has noticed that this has been a position that has seen perhaps too many faces since 2015."

Ms Joly, who is Oxford educated, has worked for some of Canada’s best-known law firms. In 2013, she ran for mayor of Montreal, a race she narrowly lost, and was elected to Parliament in 2015, serving in ministerial roles including minister of economic development, minister of tourism and minister of Canadian heritage.

The prime minister is also switching out Health Minister Patty Hajdu for Jean-Yves Duclos, a well-known Canadian economist.

“Canadians need a strong and diverse Cabinet to deliver on their priorities and keep Canada moving forward for everyone,” said Mr Trudeau in a statement.

“This team will finish the fight against Covid‑19, deliver on $10-a-day childcare, help Canadians find a home of their own, tackle the climate crisis and continue to advance reconciliation with indigenous peoples.”

Ms Chouinard said there were "a lot of big changes" in the new Cabinet that sent some "clear signals", especially on issues such as climate change and indigenous relations, but that the minority government still had to take into consideration the opposition as it moves to chart Canada's future.

Updated: October 26, 2021, 5:31 PM