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Midweek podcast: Justin Trudeau shuffles his cabinet

Thursday - 19/07/2018 06:32
Gallant told The House the changes to cabinet reflect the experience and expertise from different regions of the country.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau responds to a question during question period on Parliament Hill in Ottawa on Wednesday, May 10, 2017.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau responds to a question during question period on Parliament Hill in Ottawa on Wednesday, May 10, 2017.

New Brunswick Premier Brian Gallant says Wednesday's cabinet shuffle is a nod from the federal government to some of the big issues staring them down ahead of next year's election.

There were a few signals that caught his attention as he presides over the premiers' annual meeting held in his province this week.

Gallant told The House the changes to cabinet reflect the experience and expertise from different regions of the country.

The swap also seems to indicate the federal government is reinforcing their team to address problematic files like international trade and relations with provinces.

Those two topics have been huge issues as U.S. President Donald Trump has openly criticized Canadian leadership and slapped tariffs on steel and aluminium. Almost simultaneously, Alberta and British Columbia were at war over the controversial expansion of the Trans Mountain pipeline.

Gallant expects the pipeline conversation to resurface at this week's meeting, among other simmering issues between the provinces.

Handling those relationships will now fall to Dominic LeBlanc, the new minister of intergovernmental affairs.

"I think it's an acknowledgement that Dominic will be able to take on whatever type of tone that he needs to to get things done," Gallant said of LeBlanc, who holds a seat in New Brunswick.

LeBlanc was previously the minister for fisheries, a file that has now moved to the opposite coast. Gallant said it's not a bad thing to have the new minister in B.C., but he's looking to make sure the new minister understands Atlantic Canada's challenges.

He also pointed out that the cabinet shuffle focused on diversifying Canadian markets to reduce dependency on the U.S.

The prime minister pointed out the same thing.

"There is certainly a level of clarity for Canadians, for businesses, for everyone across this country that we need to diversify our markets. We need to ensure that we are not as dependent on the United States," Trudeau said.

Jim Carr, who has handled the natural resources file, was shifted to cover international trade.

The prime minister made other significant changes to his cabinet, appointing five new ministers and creating three new portfolios.

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