Cabinet shuffle: Who are the new faces in the federal cabinet?
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau undertook his first major cabinet shuffle on Tuesday, vaulting three young MPs into key positions and moving several top Liberals completely out of the room in the process.
Stéphane Dion, a former Liberal leader, is out entirely and could reportedly take up a diplomatic post in Europe.
MaryAnn Mihychuk (formerly the labour minister) has been moved unceremoniously to the back-benches, and John McCallum is also out of cabinet. McCallum had a busy 14 months as immigration minister and will reportedly now become Canada’s ambassador to China.
Here’s a look at some of the fresh new faces around the table after this mid-winter shuffle:
François-Philippe Champagne, the former parliamentary secretary to Finance Minister Bill Morneau, finds himself taking on the role of minister of international trade as Canada braces for a Donald Trump presidency.
Champagne is a rookie MP, but so were many of the ministers sworn in after the sweeping Liberal victory in October 2015 — so he’s in good company.
The Quebec MP represents the riding of Saint-Maurice–Champlain, which includes Shawinigan, the hometown of former Liberal prime minister Jean Chrétien.
Champagne has cited Chrétien as a mentor and was endorsed by the former prime minister during his campaign. He won handily with 41 per cent of the vote.
Before making his leap into politics, Champagne was a lawyer and international trade specialist. The new minister speaks three languages: French, English and Italian.
His career in the private sector included stints at the technology-oriented ABB Group and the British multinational Amec Foster Wheeler.
Two decades of experience in international business likely put Champagne, 46, at the head of the field as Trudeau attempted to find a replacement for International Trade Minister Chrystia Freeland, who will move into Dion’s old job at foreign affairs.
Champagne and Freeland will be at the forefront of Canada’s efforts to maintain a good working relationship with a highly protectionist Trump administration.
The Somali MP from Toronto was a refugee himself, having arrived in Canada unaccompanied as a teenager. His career path has now led him to an appointment as Canada’s newest immigration minister.
Hussen replaces John McCallum in a post that Trudeau has relied on heavily since assuming office.
Like Champagne, he’s a rookie, but Hussen is no stranger to political life. Starting out as a volunteer in Ontario’s Legislative Assembly, he eventually became an assistant to then-opposition leader Dalton McGuinty. When McGuinty became premier, Hussen was put in charge of issues management, policy and communications.
Hussen has the distinction of being Canada’s first Somali-Canadian MP, and has served as national president of the Canadian Somali Congress. He testified about radicalization in the Somali community during an appearance before the U.S. Homeland Security committee in 2011.
“I’m not a guy who’s going to only serve one community,” he noted in the Toronto Star in late 2015.
Hussen is the father of two boys, and holds a BA in History from York university and a law degree from the University of Ottawa.
Another young MP from Ontario, Karina Gould, has taken over the challenging and controversial democratic institutions file, replacing the embattled Maryam Monsef.
Gould, who has yet to see her 30th birthday, is a longtime community activist who has previously worked as a consultant in Washington, D.C. and as a trade and investment specialist for the Mexican Trade Commission in her hometown of Burlington.
Until her promotion to cabinet, Gould was serving as parliamentary secretary to the minister of international development. She was first elected in 2015, an upset victory over the Conservative candidate in her riding.
Gould, 29, holds a master’s degree in international relations from Oxford and an undergraduate degree in political science from McGill University.
She’ll have her work cut out for her in 2017 as the Liberals move ahead with plans to change the way Canadians vote.
Monsef’s handling of the file was heavily criticized last fall, and she was forced to apologize in the House of Commons after suggesting that a special committee formed to examine possible avenues for reform hadn’t done its job properly.
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