Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is set to unveil within hours who will be part of his new cabinet.
Wednesday marks the unveiling of a new Liberal cabinet that will be tasked with governing an increasingly divided country in a minority situation that will force politicians to grapple with both western alienation and growing public pressure to mitigate climate change.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau will announce who will sit around his cabinet table at 1:30 p.m. ET at Rideau Hall, the official residence of the Governor General.
That will be followed by a press conference at 3:30 p.m. where Trudeau will face questions from reporters about his choices.
Currently, there are 34 members of the federal cabinet.
That doesn’t include the dozens of parliamentary secretaries who aid in their portfolios.
But the defeat of high-profile veterans like Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale and uncertainty about the health of International Trade Minister Jim Carr and longtime Liberal MP Dominic LeBlanc, both of whom have been undergoing treatment for cancer, leave question marks beside several major postings.
LeBlanc had been the minister for interprovincial affairs before he stepped away for treatment earlier this year.
There is also speculation that major portfolios like Environment and Climate Change Canada will get a new head and that other prominent members of the cabinet, including Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland, will be shuffled into new roles.
There have also been reports in French media that Steven Guilbeault, a prominent environmentalist from the Montreal area, will be named as the new minister of Canadian heritage, meaning Liberal MP Pablo Rodriguez would likely be heading for another position.
All eyes are on the MPs who Trudeau will appoint to the roles of government House leader and Whip, both of which will be key to his ability to get legislation through a House of Commons in which the Liberals no longer control a majority of the seats.
LeBlanc had originally held the position of government House leader during the earlier years of Trudeau’s majority mandate before Bardish Chagger took over. She is considered unlikely to remain in that role given questions about her command of French and the important role the Bloc Québécois will play in the current minority setting.
The government House leader is the one tasked with negotiating with all the other parties and is in charge of everything from managing the tone in the House of Commons to changing the standing orders governing how it operates and ensuring more free votes to working with house leaders from the opposition parties to find ways to make parliamentary work more family-friendly and free of harassment.
That role goes hand in hand with that of the whip, who is responsible for making sure MPs actually show up for votes.
Both will be vital roles given the inherent instability of a minority government and will need to be able to build strong collaborative relationships with their counterparts from all of the other parties while also being fluent in both official languages.
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