Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is set to unveil his new cabinet this afternoon, Chrystia Freeland is expected to be given major portfolio. The swearing-in ceremony will begin at Rideau Hall at 1:30 pm Ottawa time.
The biggest shift will likely involve Chrystia Freeland, who is expected to be named deputy prime minister and minister in charge of a beefed-up intergovernmental affairs department, to be renamed domestic affairs.
Freeland was born in Alberta and grew up there. Three Liberal sources say Trudeau’s team is seriously considering whether to make her minister of intergovernmental affairs, the government’s point person to deal with the provinces.
“Chrystia Freeland is expected to be named deputy prime minister and minister in charge of a beefed-up intergovernmental affairs department”
“There are still some big foreign affairs files but does she need to handle them? No,” said one senior Liberal, who requested anonymity given the sensitivity of the situation.
“You have to take the people with star power and deploy them to address your biggest concerns.”
National unity tensions are a particularly painful issue in Canada, where the province of Quebec held a 1995 referendum on independence that only just failed.
It took Trudeau a full month since winning the general election last month to prepare for the formation of his government.
Trudeau is expected to balance his choices between men and women in government and will try to balance different regional, ethnic and religious considerations. Talk about the secession of the West since the October 21 federal elections.
“Giving Freeland the formal title though could help strengthen her credentials as one of the leading candidates to one day replace Trudeau”
A potential drawback is that the minister of intergovernmental affairs is a second tier role and would on paper represent a demotion for Freeland.
One solution could be to also give her the job of deputy prime minister, which is a largely ceremonial post and much less significant than the role of U.S. vice-president.
Giving Freeland the formal title though could help strengthen her credentials as one of the leading candidates to one day replace Trudeau. Trudeau did not name a deputy prime minister after taking power in 2015.