New faces named to cabinet as PM renovates front bench

October 26, 2021
New faces named to cabinet as PM renovates front bench

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has renovated his front bench by naming eight new faces to his cabinet. He’s also brought back a minister he dropped from his inner circle two years ago.

In building his new cabinet, Trudeau favoured appointing new ministers who have experience in the House of Commons, elevating only  one rookie member of Parliament into cabinet straight away.

Here’s a look at the six women and two men who are the newest members of Trudeau’s cabinet.

Randy Boissonnault: Tourism

Randy Boissonnault is now the minister of tourism and associate minister of finance. He is the only cabinet member from Alberta. 

Boissonnault was one of just two Liberal candidates elected last month in Alberta, a province that completely shut out the Liberals in a federal election two years ago.

Boissonnault won back the riding of Edmonton Centre that he held from 2015 to 2019, defeating Conservative incumbent James Cumming by 615 votes.

A bilingual lawyer, Boissonnault served previously as Trudeau’s special adviser on LGBTQ2 issues.

Sean Fraser: Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship

Sean Fraser, MP for the Nova Scotia riding of Central Nova since 2015, has landed a big promotion as the new minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship. He replaces Toronto MP Marco Mendicino, who has been moved to Public Safety.

Fraser was passed over for cabinet in 2019, when veteran Nova Scotia minister Scott Brison stepped down. Trudeau instead appointed another Nova Scotia MP, Bernadette Jordan, as fisheries minister.

Jordan’s defeat last month boosted Fraser’s chance at a cabinet seat, although some speculated that Trudeau could also tap former provincial justice minister Lena Diab, elected in Halifax West.

Fraser has served as parliamentary secretary to the finance and environment ministers, and frequently squared off with opposition critics in question period.

Marci Ien: Women, Gender Equality and Youth

Marci Ien is now the minister of Women and Gender Equality, filling the cabinet seat left vacant by the defeat of Maryam Monsef.

Ien has also picked up the youth portfolio held in the last Parliament by Bardish Chagger, who has not been reappointed to cabinet.

Ien can be expected to be an effective communicator. She is a former CTV broadcast journalist who co-hosted the daytime talk show The Social.

Ien won a byelection in the Liberal stronghold of Toronto Centre last October, filling the seat left vacant by the departure of former finance minister Bill Morneau.

She rolled to victory in this year’s federal election, despite a challenge from Green Party Leader Annamie Paul, and won more than 50 per cent of the vote.

Mark Holland: leader of the government in the House of Commons

Longtime MP Mark Holland has finally gotten the call to cabinet as the new government House leader. It’s a role that takes on heightened importance in a minority Parliament, where he will need to negotiate with opposition House leaders to move along the government’s agenda.

Holland was easily re-elected in the Greater Toronto Area riding of Ajax in September. He was first elected in 2004 but defeated in the 2011 election.

Holland returned to the House in 2015 but was not tapped for cabinet. He served instead as the parliamentary secretary to the ministers of Democratic Institutions and Public Safety.

He served as the chief government whip from 2018 until Parliament was dissolved in August.

Gudie Hutchings: Rural Economic Development

Gudie Hutchings, who has served as the MP for the Newfoundland and Labrador riding of Long Range Mountains, is another former parliamentary secretary being elevated to cabinet.

Hutchings becomes the minister of Rural Economic Development, another portfolio held in the last Parliament by Monsef. Hutchings served as Monsef’s parliamentary secretary in the last Parliament.

Hutchings also served previously as a parliamentary secretary for small business and tourism and was a member of the national security and intelligence committee of Parliamentarians.

Her appointment means Newfoundland and Labrador will have two ministers in cabinet. Seamus O’Regan, the MP for St. John’s South—Mount Pearl, has been named minister of Labour.

Helena Jaczek: Federal Economic Development Agency of Southern Ontario

Helena Jaczek is another rookie bringing plenty of experience to the cabinet table as the new minister responsible for the Federal Economic Development Agency of Southern Ontario.

Jaczek, a physician, was a member of Ontario’s legislature from 2007 to 2018. She served in the provincial cabinet as minister of health and long-term care and minister of community and social services.

Jaczek made the jump to federal politics in 2019, defeating former minister and fellow doctor Jane Philpott, who left Trudeau’s cabinet amid the SNC-Lavalin affair and ran again as an Independent in the Ontario riding of Markham—Stouffville.

Jaczek captured more than 50 per cent of the vote in the most recent election.

Kamal Khera: Seniors

Brampton West MP Kamal Khera has been named minister of Seniors, filling the seat left vacant by the defeat of former minister Deb Schulte last month.

Khera was first elected in 2015 and served as parliamentary secretary to multiple ministers over six years, including the ministers of health, National Revenue and International Development.

She resigned as parliamentary secretary for International Development in January after revealing that she had travelled to Seattle to attend a private memorial at a time when the government was advising Canadians to avoid all non-essential travel.

A nurse, Khera volunteered at a long-term care facility in Ontario during the earliest weeks of the COVID-19 pandemic. In March 2020 she also became one of the first politicians in Canada to contract COVID-19.

Pascale St-Onge: Sport, Economic Development Agency of Canada for the Regions of Quebec

Pascale St-Onge is the only new MP named to Trudeau’s cabinet. She will serve as minister of Sport and the minister responsible for the Economic Development Agency of Canada for the Regions of Quebec.

St-Onge previously worked as a union leader in Quebec’s cultural sector and was president of the Fédération nationale des communications et de la culture.

St-Onge was elected in the Quebec riding of Brome—Missisquoi by just 197 votes.

Ginette Petitpas Taylor: Official Languages, Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency

Finally, Ginette Petitpas Taylor has returned to the cabinet table as minister of Official Languages and minister responsible for the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency.

Petitpas Taylor served as minister of health from 2017 to 2019, but was not named to cabinet after the federal election two years ago. She served instead as the deputy government whip in the last Parliament.

Petitpas Taylor has held the New Brunswick riding of Moncton—Riverview—Dieppe since 2015. Her return to cabinet means the province will have two federal ministers. Veteran minister Dominic LeBlanc, who represents the riding of Beauséjour, will be minister of Intergovernmental Affairs, Infrastructure and Communities.

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