The Canadian Press
OTTAWA–Prime Minister Justin Trudeau added two new faces to his cabinet this morning, tapping Montreal MP David Lametti as Canada’s new justice minister and Nova Scotia’s Bernadette Jordan as minister of rural economic development–a new position on the front bench.
Speaking outside Rideau Hall, Trudeau said he needed to make some changes to his cabinet to deal with the sudden departure of Nova Scotia MP Scott Brison, who was president of the Treasury Board.
Brison announced late last week that he would step down from the cabinet and not run again in the next election.
Vancouver’s Jody Wilson-Raybould is moving from Justice to Veterans Affairs, generally considered a more minor portfolio.
Trudeau said veterans issues require the same deft touch Wilson-Raybould brought to the justice portfolio.
For her part, Wilson-Raybould said she doesn’t see the move as a demotion. She said she’s proud to be veterans affairs minister, calling it an extremely important role.
Jane Philpott is moving from Indigenous Services to Treasury Board, Brison’s former portfolio and a key economic position at the cabinet table.
She’ll oversee much of the machinery of government spending, including managing the federal public service and its unions.
Trudeau said Philpott is a natural choice for the position because she had been involved in a related cabinet committee, meaning she already is well-versed on the file.
Seamus O’Regan, meanwhile, is moving from Veterans Affairs to Indigenous Services.
Jordan becomes the first Nova Scotia woman to sit in cabinet.
The Prime Minister’s Office said in a release that she will be tasked with creating a rural-development strategy, including bringing high-speed internet to rural communities and help in rural infrastructure development.
Those matters currently are overseen by two other cabinet positions–the ministers of innovation and of infrastructure–and it’s not immediately clear where Jordan will be situated within the bureaucratic structure.
On Twitter, Conservative MP Erin O’Toole said Philpott and Lametti “are solid performers and well-regarded,” but called the remainder of Trudeau’s move “quite a head-scratcher.”
He said indigenous peoples and veterans “will be concerned.”