Prime Minister Justin Trudeau will make changes to his cabinet on Tuesday, including replacing Stéphane Dion as foreign affairs minister and John McCallum in immigration, CBC News has learned.
The cabinet shuffle, first reported by The Canadian Press, comes as the prime minister prepares for a cross-Canada grassroots tour over the next few weeks.
Cameron Ahmed, a spokesman for the Prime Minister’s Office, declined to comment, saying in an email “our office does not comment on rumours.”
But sources familiar with the government’s plans confirmed the news of the shuffle on condition of anonymity.
Dion is out as foreign affairs minister, sources tell CBC News. Also leaving his position, sources said, is McCallum. The immediate future for both is unclear, as are their replacements.
The experienced Dion and McCallum, who represents Markham-Thornhill in Ontario, were among the relatively small group of Trudeau cabinet ministers with links to previous Liberal governments.
McCallum, 65, served as defence minister under Jean Chrétien and in veteran affairs in Paul Martin’s cabinet.
Dion, 61, was environment minister under Martin and then succeeded him as party leader, a position he held until shortly after the party lost 18 seats in a 2008 federal election defeat. Dion represents the Quebec riding of Saint-Laurent.
Democratic Institutions Minister Maryam Monsef, also from Ontario, who attracted controversy for her handling of the electoral reform file, will be moved out of the portfolio, sources told CBC News. The MP from Peterborough-Kawartha in will remain in cabinet, but it’s not clear in what position.
Sources also told CBC News MaryAnn Mihychuk will be shuffled out of her office as Minister of Employment, Workforce Development and Labour, though there was no information on where the Manitoba MP from Kildonan-St. Paul may end up.
Trudeau’s cabinet was sworn in just over 14 months ago but has already seen a few changes.
Last May, former fisheries minister Hunter Tootoo was dropped from cabinet for personal reasons and replaced by former government House leader Dominic LeBlanc. In a mid-summer move, Small Business and Tourism Minister Bardish Chagger was handed LeBlanc’s House leader duties.
But the inauguration next week of U.S. president-elect Donald Trump has put new focus on the government’s handling of the Canada-U.S. relationship. A shuffle would allow Trudeau to move strong ministers into roles that are critical to that relationship, while also addressing some weaker performers.
Sources also told Radio-Canada, CBC’s French-language service, that François-Philippe Champagne is expected to be elevated to cabinet after a strong performance as Finance Minister Bill Morneau’s parliamentary secretary. Champagne is a first-term MP representing the Quebec riding of Saint-Maurice–Champlain.
The timing of Tuesday’s cabinet shuffle was not immediately known.
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