January 18th, 2021

Trudeau to shuffle cabinet as Bains departs as innovation minister


By The Canadian Press on January 11, 2021.

Minister of Innovation, Science and Industry Navdeep Bains leaves on the third and final day of a Liberal cabinet retreat in Ottawa on Wednesday, Sept. 16, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick

OTTAWA – Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is expected to conduct a small shuffle of his cabinet Tuesday, sparked by the departure of Navdeep Bains, the minister of innovation, science and industry.

Rumours of the impending shuffle began circulating late Monday.

According to sources, who spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to speak publicly about the moves, Bains has informed Trudeau that he does not intend to run in the next federal election, which could come as early as this spring.

Foreign Affairs Minister Fran├žois-Philippe Champagne is expected to replace Bains.

Transport Minister Marc Garneau is expected to take over from Champagne at Global Affairs Canada.

Trudeau is expected to elevate Toronto-area MP Omar Alghabra to cabinet to take on the Transport portfolio.

Alghabra has been parliamentary secretary to several ministers, including Trudeau.

Trudeau’s minority Liberal government could be toppled if the opposition parties unite against it – potentially after the next budget in the spring, the first since the COVID-19 pandemic sent the federal deficit skyrocketing.

Bains’s department will be a key player in the government’s plan to reignite the shattered economy once the pandemic is over.

Trudeau has been clear that critical portfolios need to be overseen by ministers who intend to be around for the long haul and who can sell the government’s agenda during the next election campaign.

He made that argument last August, when Bill Morneau abruptly resigned as finance minister and gave up his seat in the House of Commons. Morneau was replaced by Chrystia Freeland.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 11, 2021.

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